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My Own Story

Susan Hamilton Author Interview

Susan Hamilton Author Interview

The Nosferatu Chronicles: Origins is a science fiction novel detailing the origins of vampires with a mix of aliens and Vlad the Impaler. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

As a kid, I loved science fiction movies about alien invaders and the Dracula films that starred Christopher Lee and Jack Palance. I kept waiting for a film to come out that would combine my two favorite genres, but it never happened. I finally decided to write down my own story that had been in my head for decades.

The alien VAMBIR were fascinating and I felt like you spent a lot of time thinking about these creatures to truly bring them to life. How do you capture the thoughts and emotions of an alien species?

I loved the movie ENEMY MINE and Louis Gossett Jr’s portrayal of the Drac alien was incredibly moving. In the beginning, it was easy to think of him as evil because of the hideous exterior, but you quickly see that the Drac had a parallel code of ethics to humans. I thought of the Vambir in the same way — a humanoid species that evolved separately with the same hopes and dreams and everyday struggles.

The story takes place on Earth during the 15th century. Why did you choose this as the backdrop to your story?

The character of Prince Vlad Dracula was essential to the story, and he lived in the 15th Century. Since the vampire legend began with Vlad the Impaler, it was a good place to start with an alien crash-landing that ‘explained’ just how the legend began.

I find a problem in well written stories, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Where does book two, The Aztec God, take readers?

The Aztec God will take readers from where Origins left off in the 15th Century to the present day. Kevak and his network of transformed humans have been secretly protecting mankind from the Vambir, but just when they think the threat has been obliterated, historical clues point to a Vambir presence among the Aztecs that is linked to a present day cult.

Author Links: GoodReads Twitter Facebook Website

The Nosferatu Chronicles: Origins

Book 1 of the series reveals how the vampire legend is the result of a secret alien invasion that began with a crash landing in Transylvania in the 15th Century.

The Vambir discover human blood is a nutrient, but it is also highly addictive. Ingesting blood brings about a physical transformation that enables them to pass as humans.

Impressed with their superior strength and vicious fighting skills, Prince Vlad Dracula welcomes them into his inner circle, where they attain power through him.

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Steel, Blood & Fire

Steel, Blood & Fire

Dark, gritty, and altogether brutal, Steel, Blood and Fire is an archetypal dark fantasy novel. In the first chapter, one of the main character’s hands and feet are amputated, and the story continues in similar fashion from there onward. The setting is fantasy grounded in muddy reality, although there is a vein of consequential magic that adds a little sorcery to this otherwise swords-based world. If you’re familiar with Game of Thrones then you’re familiar with Allen Betchelder’s style; multiple character perspectives, inter-weaved story lines, and a healthy dose of murder. It’s a fantastic modern-style medieval fantasy, and a definite read for any fan of the genre.

When I began Steel, Blood and Fire, my first thought was, “Wow, this is a lot like Game of Thrones.” Then I began to think, “Or is it more of a Witcher book?” As I continued through the novel, I began to decide it was a blend of both. By the end, I thought that perhaps it was its own thing.

The book isn’t afraid to touch on the brutal. In fact, it seems to revel in it. Blood flows freely; rape is the buzzword of the day. It’s a mature novel for sure although it doesn’t quite cross the line, but regularly toes it. A lesser author would have toppled their novel over into prurient pulp.

The writing is well-executed, with the author’s own voice clearly shining through. There is one trap that Allen Betchelder tends to fall into, and that’s the ‘fear of said’. Every other sentence seems to find a new synonym – characters question, murmur, mutter, bellow, but words are never just ‘said’. It’s awkward to read, and tends to draw you out of conversations that should flow naturally.

In any perspective-hopping plot, characters are one of the most important factors. Fortunately, Steel, Blood and Fire features a strong and memorable, if slightly generic, cast. They come off as slightly one-dimensional, particularly towards the start of the novel, and the inclusion of a comedy group of village bumpkins – who of course meet with terrible fates – struck me as being an attempt at generating some frisson with the grim background. Other than those minor niggles, the diversity and depth of the cast begins to truly shine through around the midway point; from here onward they become much more than the sum of their parts.

Despite my above criticisms, I really did enjoy the story, and it quickly became engaging only a few pages in. If you’re a fan of the genre, particularly Game of Thrones-esque fantasy, you’ll certainly enjoy Betchelder’s offering.

Pages: 548 | ASIN: B00AW53RMQ

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A Creepy Science-Gone-Wrong Scenario

Ryan Grimbly Author Interview

Ryan Grimbly Author Interview

In Typhoon of Fire we follow Ace Mcdagger who teams up with Captain Loxwell of November squad to rescue her teammates scattered in the forests of Malaysia. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

During Call of the Conjurer, when the characters were new recruits to the hidden world of modern, magical combat; they spent a lot of time in a regulated, clean environments. The characters were usually safe. I wanted to go the opposite way in Typhoon of Fire. I wanted the situation throughout to be very rough, challenging and dangerous. My very first thought, visually, was of Vietnam era war films like “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now”.

The jungle is wild and hostile, and Malaysia is a location brimming with different environments which greatly inspired the events throughout. The characters explore flat, arid plains and damp rainforests, a rundown laboratory overrun by plants, an abandoned mine, a floating fortress above the clouds… I had a great time using colour schemes to set the mood. The use of natural environments also helped me to emphasise major themes in the book. Subjects such as ‘corruption of life’, ‘man versus nature’ and ‘Hell on Earth’.

I felt that the novel was very well paced and kept me engaged throughout. Did you plan the novel as you wrote or did it all happen organically?

It happened organically, for the most part. From my perspective, Typhoon of Fire is a prequel to another book I have written – but I decided it would be better to publish them chronologically. Certain events had to happen in Typhoon of Fire, and with that in mind I just had fun writing what I wanted: a creepy science-gone-wrong scenario!

Developing the supporting cast and their stories happened organically as well. They were new characters, who would not necessarily be seen again; so their personalities, roles and fates were all blank slates. I enjoyed unravelling these characters, adding little twists to their personalities to surprise the reader. A lot of the characters are very different people by the end of the story, for better or for worse. I suppose in essence, the main plot of Typhoon of Fire was an after thought for me. The subplots, however; the individual character arcs which pave the way for future instalments, are the real meat and bones of the book. Away from all the magic and sci-fi, this is a book about humanity and frailty.

Ace, Shimon, Tiffany, and Loxwell have brilliant dialogue and they feel like living characters. What things did you focus your character development on to bring your characters to life?

I absolutely adore writing flawed characters. I like my characters fumble their dialogue, on occasion, or misunderstand information given to them. It makes them more human, to be far from perfect. I enjoy the concept of the “unreliable protagonist” and bear that in mind when I write. Sometimes the characters make mistakes, and sometimes they lie, even to themselves. They are supposed to be human, despite any super human magical powers they possess. Careful dialogue keeps them grounded and relatable.

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

Tricky one! I actually have two books in the proof reading stage now. One is a direct follow up to Typhoon of Fire, called Bloodfest, which was the book I had written before this one but decided to release later. The other book I’ve completed is a supplementary story called The Sardonyc, which focuses on the Science Department mentioned throughout Typhoon of Fire. The Sardonyc is a very different book to what I have written before, but it is still within the same self contained universe.

Bloodfest will be a straight up action horror / macabre comedy, continuing the adventures of Ace Mcdagger. He is more grown up and world weary by now, and is deployed to a mysterious island to dispatch a rising army of the undead. Definitely one for zombie fans!

The Sardonyc is more of a psychological thriller, about a troubled new character named Sidney. He is part of a research team stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean, and everybody is slowly going mad. Sidney must figure out why it is happening before he succumbs as well, and there are plenty of twists along the way.

I hope the Literary Titan will review my next book soon – whichever one is out first!

Author Links: GoodReads Twitter Facebook Website

Typhoon of Fire

Three years after training; learning about magic combat and of monsters that terrorise our world, soldier Ace Mcdagger and his allies join Captain Rafaella Loxwell of November Squad for a rescue mission. Her team mates have been scattered following a disastrous attempt to seek out a rogue scientist deep in the forests of Malaysia. Their path is mired by many obstacles; treachery, psychic warnings, scientific abominations, and an overwhelming storm – the Typhoon of Fire, slowly closing in on the region without a known cause.

Worst of all, Ace has to contend with a personal challenge – keeping his mad cousin out of trouble.

Can Captain Loxwell save her team mates and complete the mysterious mission? And will Ace and his friends survive out here in the midst of true, heated battle?

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The Darkest Story

Eric Kapitan Author Interview

Eric Kapitan Author Interview

Fireflies of the Dead takes readers on a horrifying journey of blood seeking killers and revenge loving victims. What was the inspiration for this collection of short stories?

I’ve always been a fan of exploitation horror films, which I think really shows in the stories in this collection. I’ve been fascinated with rape revenge films such as Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave for as long as I can remember. The boldness and grit of those films are what really drew me into them. I am a horror fan and as a horror fan I wrote stories that I myself would enjoy reading.

What was your favorite short story in the collection and why?

That is tough for me to answer because each story I like for different reasons. If I had to narrow it down, I would think my favorite is Watching Over Loved. I think it’s the darkest story in the collection. It contains no gore at all but packs a punch.

The stories are preceded by poems that help set the tone of the next story. What made you go with this format for your collection?

My previous books besides Burning Down Paradise were horror poetry collections dealing with extreme horror. As a reader, I’ve always loved reading short story collections. Especially when it’s a collection written by an author I’ve never heard or read before. I thought the poems would both serve as a way to set up the tone of each story as well as serve as stopping points for the reader.

I didn’t notice that any of the stories were connected, but they stood on their own well. Was there any overarching theme you tried to use in the collection?

Yes, some of the stories do share a common theme which might be hard to see through the violence and gore for some readers. In a lot of my work, I focus on themes of loss, loneliness and trying to find one’s place in the world.

Are you currently working on any full-length books? If so, when will the next book be published?

I’m working on a new draft a Novella I do not yet have a title for. It kind of serves as a sequel to my book Burning Down Paradise but yet is a stand alone story as well. I don’t want to give away much right now but I will say it takes place in a prison.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

Fireflies of the DeadFireflies of the Dead is a collection of poetry and short stories. Exposing images of the strange, the grotesque and m+orbidly macabre. 

An alien from a distant world falls to earth with an insatiable craving for human flesh and something even more frightening, a desire to mate! Witness the tragic tale of a lonely man with an unhealthy affection toward the fire. 

Seven short stories and poems that will take you on a blood-soaked thrill ride filled with mayhem and horrific images. 

Fireflies of the Dead will chill your blood. 

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Just How Sordid

Tantra Bensko Author Interview

Tantra Bensko Author Interview

Remember To Recycle explores a twisted state of dystopian society run rampant with political tension and censorship as experienced through the eyes of a sordid slew of characters. How did you decide on the starting point for this novel and how did that help create the rest of the story?

Thank you for asking. I based the novel on current reality based on in-depth study of foreign policy and traditional patterns of involvement by intelligence agencies who use propaganda to skew public opinion toward a military agenda.

I began the book inspired by the guys who go through my recycling bins to take what they can sell; I made a recycler character who has a clever scheme to take what he learns about the people in the neighborhood that way. The idea made me chuckle, and I wanted to see what kind of goofy brilliance he might display. I also had often joked around with a housemate about the empty buildings across the street which are owned by the church. We’d see people go in and never come out. I was also inspired by our jokes about the counter-intuitive business choices of the local ice-cream truck driver. The truck indeed broadcasts the recording of a scolding woman’s voice, just like in the novel.

Though entertainment is the ultimate point of the book, my main serious goal with the book is to balance the propaganda about the White Helmets, though characters in the United States who had hear the stories about a group like them on the nightly news or watch the Hollywood movie about them.

This novel follows the introduction to Nancy and her relationship to the Agents of the Nevermind in book one, Glossolalia. Nancy has done sordid things in her past, but she was forced into it. In this book, she’s again given the chance to be a hero and make amends for her role in political intrigue, even if it means using the dirty skills she was raised with. Some methods are so dirty, she hardly even lets herself know just how sordid she can be. But like all the other POV characters, she has a good heart.

I chose the beginning scene because it was cinematic, with the dramatic contrast arising from Nancy relaxing at her unusual dwelling, chuckling at the anomalous sound of the ice-cream truck that never seem to make any sales. That prepares us for dark humor in the book. She’s being startled by the loud sound of a hard snowball smashing the glass of the window beside her head. She puts on her costume when she realizes someone outside might be looking at her, so we see how she’s been living “underground,” hoping no one recognizes her, in a somewhat primitive location, but someone mysteriously is communicating with her.

She finds a painted rock inside the snowball and the image reminds her of herself and her one friend, a lovely artist named Becky. Nancy has followed another such anonymous note to lead her to Becky in the past. So that beginning creates questions about the dynamics of some major characters, as it sets in motion Nancy’s sleuthing, and involves the reader in the mystery.

I remember the excitement of thinking of the snowball, with ice-cream and a rock inside, at the beginning. Most of the book was already written, but that image created a colorful motif that I went back and inserted through the novel. It was gratifying the way it drew a lot of elements together.

You’re able to weave together the intricate lives of a ragtag group of characters. What themes did you want to capture while creating your characters?

I focused on the theme of the heroism of examining and exposing social engineering, and the difficult choices, nobility and sacrifice that can entail.

I felt this story was very well written. What’s your experience as a writer?

I appreciate that. I’ve been writing all my life, as well as studying the form, not only for my benefit but for my students, as I teach fiction writing and edit manuscripts. I’ve explored a variety of genres; psychological suspense, which is the overarching category all the diverse books in the series fall into, fascinates me because of human psychology making propaganda and other forms of deception easy and bewildering, creating the need for answers. I love the feeling of figuring out the answers to such mysteries, such a rush, a shudder. It’s the perfect genre to dramatize the ability of intelligence agents working behind the scenes to gaslight the public. So, I read and watch movies and TV shows in that genre a lot, to understand what works best. I’m always studying more about fiction and screenwriting techniques. I learn as much from the screen as the page, and organize my books like movies.

This is book two in the Agents of Nevermind series. Where will book three take readers?

It continues the theme of the Agents who combine deception, mind control, blackmail, and occult practices. I’ve been including history about that intersection in the books, returning to certain historical figures such as John Dee and Edward Kelley, and their use of Enochian language as a spy code as well as an attempt at magick.

The novel is called Encore, and is Gothic. A highly-acclaimed performance troupe has a special requirement to make their shows work: the audience can’t be aware if any of the actors are replaced by a standby (similar to an understudy.) Their resident hypnotist, Dune, who is rumored to be an Agent of the Nevermind, accomplishes that by hypnotizing the standbys to believe they’re the actors they’re mimicking, and even coat their own auras with the residuals of their actors.

His wife is the star, but must leave the troupe due to cancer. Her standby and Dune have strong chemistry. He kidnaps her while she’s hypnotized to believe she’s his wife, and takes her to an alchemist’s castle. Underlying the story is the real history of a few powerful countries’ competing mythologies meant to gain supporters for them in wartime.

I hope this book will move readers to appreciate themselves for who they are.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

What if the homeless men going through your recycling know more about your life than you do? Like who is going to die. One of the recyclers, Dave, wearing disguises he keeps under a bridge, memorizes the information in people’s bins. He, like many others, idolizes the Rescuers, a supposedly neutral, unarmed humanitarian aid group in a Balkanized country, as the possibility of WWIII looms. The Nevermind Agents lie on the evening news to garner support for proxy wars. They say the Rescuers are unarmed, neutral, and giving humanitarian aid to a Balkanized country. Their movie about them is a blockbuster. Rescuer costumes are the bit hit for Halloween. But it’s time to unmask them. And that requires a plan so ingenious, even the planner can’t know how it’s done. Living not far away from Dave’s bridge, Becky donates generously to the Rescuers, making her finances even more insecure. She doesn’t know what to think when she finds things in her apartment moved slightly. The toothbrush is wet. There’s a stain on the ironing board. The cat food is nearly gone. Is it her imagination? Is someone messing with her mind? Could it be Stan, breaking in because he loves her? He certainly loves putting her body into mysterious BDSM contortions for their videos. But what’s that muffled moan she hears in the background when she calls him on the phone? Becky hires her friend to spy on Stan. The woman has gone underground since escaping from the Nevermind; she wears a wig, and a mask meant for burn victims. She has traveled across the country to befriend Becky, taking a chance on an anonymous message recommending she do so, though she doesn’t yet know the reason.

A Thriller for Thinkers

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Literary Titan Book Awards August 2017

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Pink Slips by [Aldrich, Beth]The Slave Boy (The Orfeo Saga Book 6) by [Eiland Jr., Murray Lee]Two Polluted Black-Heart Romances (The Water Kingdom Book 2) by [Breaux, Kevin James]Dead Men Walking (Nate & Clare Book 2) by [Griffeth, Kwen]

Becoming Samantha Colt (Larkin and Colt Book 4) by [Cressman, Ken]Fleeing the Shadows (Dangerous Loyalties Book 2) by [Still, Phyllis A.]Black and White by [Burgess Jr., Ben]Detours in Time by [Schloesser Canepa, Pamela]

STAINER: A novel of the 'Me Decade'. by [Woulff, Iolanthe]Miss Sally: and the Sinners That God Ignores by [Stout, Robert Joe]The Enigma Broker (The Enigma Series Book 8) by [Breakfield, Charles, Burkey, Roxanne]H.A.L.F.: The Makers by [Wright, Natalie]

The Imposter's Trail (The Sean Kruger Series Book 3) by [Fields, J.C.]Vengeance Is Mine: Resurrections (Sam and Laura's Story Book 3) by [Griffeth, Kwen D]Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2) by [Spry, Greg]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Book Award

The Voynich Gambit: The Sequel to Guarding Shakespeare (Norman Blalock Mysteries Book 2) by [Peterson, Quintin]A Pardon For Tommy by [Enyi, Patricia Nmukoso]Wheeler by [Zalesky, Sara Butler]Gravity Games: A Nathan Sherlock Foodie Thriller (Nate The Nose Book 1) by [Matsui, John]

The Secrets of All Secrets by [Wells, Douglas]Black Box by [Hansen, Casey J.]Mountain Green Corporate Blue by [Saunders, LJ]FRACTURED: My Journey Back from Death and the Lessons I've Learned Along the Way by [Antonucci, Elizabeth]

A Guardian Falls (Chronicles of the Coranydas Book 2) by [Tran, R.]The Nosferatu Chronicles: Origins by [Hamilton, Susan]War Eternal: Book I: Angels' Whispers by [Cain, J.F.]Essence of Neverland by [Jinsei, Juna]

Stygian by [Michael, Sean]End of Knighthood Part II: The King's Move (Reverence Book 3) by [Landeros, Joshua]

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

The Wagon Driver

The Wagon Driver by [Berardelli, David]

A futuristic, dystopian story which combines elements of mystery, tension, and eccentricity. The Wagon Driver is one of David Berardelli’s many stories inspired by the works of Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, Ian Fleming, and Rod Serling.

The story is set in the not-so-distant future where eighteen-year-old Kyle Sonnet lands his first  job as an employee of the Department of Population Control. Population control is the pivotal theme throughout The Wagon Driver, and leaves the reader to believe that Earth’s population is more than it can bare. To resolve this issue, wagon drivers are required to follow ambulances and collect bodies and dispose of them. Unsettling, don’t you think?

Kyle Sonnet is the main protagonist of the story, and instantly you feel a sense of empathy towards him. The early chapters of the book point out themes of isolation and loneliness; illustrated by Kyle’s childhood background of growing up in an orphanage. Now, he has left his younger years and is trying to find his feet. However, when he lands this job and is stated that he “cannot quit”, as a reader, you soon realize that Kyle’s luck has not improved.

What I loved about this book is how the story follows the life of a young adolescent who is simply trying to find his way in the world. Instead of finding a job to gain some independence, Kyle soon realizes that he is in over his head. As the story unfolds, we soon realize that the issue of population control alongside the collapse in the healthcare system, means that euthanasia has taken over. Kyle finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy when he witnesses something of utter horror; Kyle needs to make a crucial decision. Does he continue with his job and accept what has happened, or does he face a challenging escape and risk his life in attempt for resolution?

The story moves at a steady pace, and I was pleasantly surprised by the twist in the narrative. What makes for good reading is uncertainty and uniqueness, and I believe the author of The Wagon Driver does this remarkably. The grammar and punctuation is strong, and the narrative is creative and unique.

The Wagon Driver, a book full of entrapment, isolation, and shock is a great read. An emotive, intriguing and dramatic novel set in a dystopian American society. The story goes against the American dream, and instead shows real concern and fear, in the hope that things can change. At the expense of everyone, the world and how it is portrayed is now simply in the hands of a naïve, inexperienced eighteen-year-old boy.

Pages: 402 | ASIN: B0725V6ZKH

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The Ghost in the Mini Skirt

The Ghost in the Mini Skirt

The Ghost in the Mini Skirt begins in Vegas where after a meeting between two good friends, Jack meets a beautiful woman who captures his attention. But after their chance encounter, life takes an unexpected turn for Jack. Ghosts, tortured souls and a smothering darkness lead Jack on the path of a supernatural mystery. Two long lost lovers will connect with Jack and Terri in hopes that the truth will be revealed. Will Jack be able to solve this twisted tale or will the story be lost forever in Vegas?

The Ghost in the Mini Skirt, written by Kwen D Griffeth, starts as what appears to be another love story with a lonely guy in a bar on Valentine’s Day. However, it quickly escalates into a supernatural, fast paced, edge of your seat mystery as Jack hits a man with his car in the middle of the night.

The novel has modern tones with the likes of coding, computer hacking and Vegas being integrated into a murder plot, however, the premise of the novel is based on two love stories, one old and one new. But this is no typical romance. Be prepared for ghosts and unsolved mysteries that lead new lovers and old lovers together. There are action, secret agent style missions and even fortune tellers that will keep the reader on the edge of their toes, desperate to find out the answers.

Jack is proud, smart and at times stubborn. I was immediately drawn to his character and loved how pieces of his life are revealed as you move through the novel. He does not live an ordinary life by any means and his background and expertise lead him to a life with underground secret tunnels, guards and connections with the military. He has built a successful career and has a strong moral compass that means he protects those who are good and takes down those who are bad. The information surrounding his career was presented with such conviction that it leaves the reader feeling as though they had been able to peek into a world that they had never experienced before.

The contrast between him and Terri create two characters that swirl together and connect like sweet and savory. An unlikely combination that somehow works and creates a dynamic that made the novel easy to read and enjoy. At times Terri and Jack clash with their alternative views on life but through this conflict they learn to grow and respect each other and their differences. The introduction to Terri is like no other introduction I’ve read before. The smooth moves, the precise description of her walk and her irresistible beauty will have the reader conjuring up a woman so beautiful that she turns heads everywhere she goes.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a supernatural style, whodunit novel mixed with a dash of love and humor.

Pages: 398 | ASIN: B00IF7VCYS

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Underlord of the Netherworld

Underlord of the Netherworld by [Jinsei, Juna ]

Decades after the fateful battle with the ruinous shadow monster, the Neverlanders are living comfortably in the afterglow of victory and harmony. As families grow and tribes evolve, the congruous balance amoung civilizations has nourished fairies, men, and mermaids alike. All good things must inevitably come to an end though, and with the abruptness of a sudden treacherous storm, the Neverlanders once again find themselves prey to a cataclysmic force, an invading army of Malomen. Author Juna Jinsei returns to the Neverland series with Underlord of the Netherworld, once again brilliantly melding age old wisdom and youthful spirit into this daring tale of life after Peter Pan.

As a fan of the first title in the series, The Essence of Neverland, I had naturally high hopes for this sequel. There was a charming poignancy to the first book, as impactful as it was impressive. Author Jinsei certainly did not disappoint with the caliber of thoughtfulness infused into this followup story. The profoundness of self-discovery is every bit as present, although the lessons themselves have shifted somewhat. Again, I really have to applaud Jinsei’s remarkable talent for exploring significant themes with such clever insight and casual relatability.

Although Underlord of the Netherworld may be lacking some of the more macabre moments entailed in its predecessor, the story is still steeped with hearty action, interjected on occasion by gut-wrenching moments of tragedy. The invasion of Malomen, a swarthy society of bloodlusting sea creatures, has brought with it the tides of war. Despite the love and unity shared among the Neverlanders, the cruel reality of battle leaves many villages devastated, ravaged by the unwelcome army. These passages were particularly moving to me, written with such vividness and sincerity that I couldn’t help but to imagine vast cities of war-torn wreckage, not unlike those we sometimes see on the news. In fact, much of the conflict within The Underlord of the Netherworld can be paralleled to our society’s current political struggles. Despite their progression and intelligence, the Malomen have little regard for the lives of the foreign land-faring civilizations, seeking to claim those territories as their own. Their lust for conquest is driven by greed, and fueled by ego, pride, and racial tension. I was incredibly impressed at Jinsei’s ability to craft such strong parallels to modern society, while remaining loyal to the setting and tone of Neverland and its inhabitants.

True to the style of the first novel, Underlord of the Netherworld earnestly explores the powers of communication, compassion, and community. Without spoiling any of the juicy bits, I will say that the resolve comes together beautifully, with a respectful nod to the opening title. It is almost incomprehensible to me how casually Jinsei weaves the severity of self-discovery into the light-hearted nature of the characters. Without being too stuffy or, alternatively, too childish, Underlord of the Netherworld is the perfect balance of altruistic deeds and daring actions. I’d happily recommend this book and will be crossing my fingers for the next title in the series!

Pages: 248 | ASIN: B06XS121SH

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Voodoo is not a Bunch of Hocus-Pocus

Danny Estes Author Interview

Danny Estes Author Interview

Charlotte is a woman of mysterious origins who is seeking revenge on the one who locked her away. How did you decide what the starting point was for you in Charlotte’s Soul?

In truth I was working on another story, dealing with a healer in a magical realm when my mind drifted off. The stories of the witch hunts in Salem came up. I’d seen many documentaries concerning that time period, thus I began to wonder. What would a true witch do. Could I write an interesting story? I considered starting points in that time period but nothing clicked for me. It wasn’t until I considered modern times that I felt a connection. Still, something was missing. I began asking what if? What if? That’s when Charlotte began to come alive. As for a starting point, I like to start off with my characters having to deal with situations that reveals something about the person.

The novel is filled with subtle yet powerful descriptions of voodoo and witchcraft. What research did you undertake to ensure you got all the details right?

From early on as a child Witchcraft has been talked-about, written about and made in to tv shows. In my mind they all held the same theme, the ability to alter reality by understanding nature is a force which can be tapped. Thus using this knowledge I built up Charlotte’s abilities. Voodoo on the other hand has not been a part of my world, yet I’d heard stories about it. Being unsure of any true facts, I began searching the Internet to understand it’s origins. The more sites I came across the more I learned voodoo is not a bunch of hocus-pocus, it’s a respected religion in many cultures.

I found that Charlotte was a balance between femininity, passion and a strong will. What obstacles did you feel were important in the story for Charlotte’s character development?

To develop Charlotte, I considered how she must feel being a 17th century woman thrust into our society. To give her balance to cope, I paired her off with detective Matt Huston, a modern man with his own demons. I felt with the two butting heads, she would have a foundation to build a life in our time period.

Will Charlotte’s Soul be part of a series? If so, where does the next story go? If not, where do you imagine it could go?

I did leave room to write another story with her and in fact, I’ve the making for a beginning to book 2. Presently however, she has been delegated to remain on hold as another story has caught my interest. In time I’m hopeful she’ll get dusted off and put back in action.

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Charlotte's Soul by [Estes, Danny C]Charlotte Goodfield, a witch imprisoned since the 17th century, escapes in modern times and enlists the help of a New York City detective and an ATF agent to find her half-brother. He stole the magic amulet that holds half her soul—and she wants it back. Charlotte wades through NYC’s underbelly, searching for answers and discovering other horrors. 

While her amulet has been with her brother, that half of her soul became drenched in evil; contacting it strengthens her magic but doing so raises a daemon within her that doesn’t care about playing by the rules.

Bad men are fair game. And she’s met a lot of bad men.

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