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The Chaos of Revolution

Dan Meier Author Interview

Dan Meier Author Interview

The Dung Beetles of Liberia is a thrilling novel following the life of an American in 1961 Liberia. What was the inspiration that made you want to put this story in a novel?

Over the years, a friend of mine in the FAA had been telling me fantastic stories about the seven years he spent as an air transport pilot in pre-civil war Liberia in the 1960’s. The stories were incredible. I decided that somebody had to document what he had experienced, and being a writer, I was the one to do it. After over 40 hours of interviews, listening to one amazing tale after another, it became apparent that in order to write a cohesive and thematic account of his adventures, I could not write the non-fiction memoir as I had intended, but had to rearrange his story into a novel based on his experiences. And so the historical novel based on fact was born.

You did a fantastic job of capturing the setting and culture of Liberia. What type of research did you undertake for this novel?

Once I got a story line going, I used the internet extensively, as there are a multitude of photos showing Monrovia in its heyday during the period my novel takes place. I also did research into the history of Liberia, dating back to the 1820’s when President Monroe”s American Colonization Policy shipped hundreds of freed slaves “back to Africa.” These “Americo-Liberians,” as they were called, had set up a societal structure not unlike the Ante Bellum South from which they had come. My hero spent most of his time dealing with the indigenous people and the expat community and was thus able to see the amazing disparity between the classes.

This is a consistently engaging book that is high in social commentary. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

Researching this society’s progression it became evident that it was a microcosm of a much larger truth. The Power-Elite Theory, claims that when a single elite group decides all issues for the nation as a whole, both political and social,this leaves almost nothing for the common person. It paints a dark picture. And in Liberia’s case, ironically, it even dipped its toe into the murky waters of forced labor and slavery. It is what caused its descent into the chaos of revolution.

Also, the metaphor of the dung beetle is referenced several times throughout the book creating a visual commentary of the society that is based on greed and corruption–again, leaving nothing for the little man.

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

I am currently working on the sequel to THE DUNG BEETLES OF LIBERIA, which covers a three-week period of the takeover of the government by Sgt Doe in 1980. The beginning of the bloodbath.

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn

The Dung Beetles of Liberia: a novel based on true events by [Meier, Daniel V. Jr.]

Based on the remarkable true account of a young American who landed in Liberia in 1961.

Ken Verrier is not happy, nor at peace. He is experiencing the turbulence of Ishmael and the guilt of his brother’s death. His sudden decision to drop out of college and deal with his demons shocks his family, his friends, and especially his girlfriend, soon to have been his fiancee. His destination: Liberia – The richest country in Africa both in monetary wealth and in natural resources.

Nothing could have prepared Ken for the experiences he was about to live through. He quickly realizes that he has arrived in a place where he understands very little of what is considered normal, where the dignity of life has little meaning, and where he can trust no one.

Flying into the interior bush as a transport pilot, Ken learns quickly. He witnesses first-hand the disparate lives of the Liberian “Country People” and the “Congo People” also known as Americo-Liberians. These descendants of President Monroe’s American Colonization Policy that sent freed slaves back to Africa in the 1800’s have set up a stricthierarchical society not unlike the antebellum South.

Author Dan Meier describes Ken’s many escapades, spanning from horrifying to whimsical, with engaging and fast-moving narrative that ultimately describe a society upon which the wealthy are feeding and in which the poor are being buried.

It’s a novel that will stay will you long after the last word has been read.

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A Story About Death

Ryan Grimbly Author Interview

Ryan Grimbly Author Interview

Blooodfest follows an elite squad of soldiers investigating an island when the dead come to life and they must battle death itself. What were some sources of inspiration that helped you write this book?

Bloodfest started as a home made stop motion film, and we – as a team of budding film makers – were definitely inspired by horror movies and video games. As far as writing inspiration goes, I was a fan of Roald Dahl as a child. Then it was Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman as I got older. A lot of these authors often combined dark subjects and comedy, which I really influenced by twisted sense of humour. Bloodfest certainly isn’t shy about being concurrently disgusting and funny.

What was the collaboration like with author James Maddison on this book?

This is a collaboration about twenty two years in the making! I met James at high school. We developed Bloodfest as a stop motion film, using modelling clay to build the characters and my parent’s video camera to film it. I still have fond memories of those characters and events, and I decided to revive Bloodfest as a book series starting with Call of the Conjurer, released in 2014. After I novelised Bloodfest, I gave a first draft to James before doing anything else. He gave his blessing and was equally delighted by the memories.

You write a lot of paranormal fantasy novels. What did you want to do in this book that was different from your other books?

Call of the Conjurer and Typhoon of Fire were both set up as prequels to the inevitable release of Bloodfest, at least in my mind. I wrote them as a means of naturally establishing the characters and their world, with an end goal in mind. While Call of the Conjurer and Typhoon of Fire are subdued, Bloodfest is completely unfettered. The book treads a thin line between fantasy ridiculouness and genuine drama. The characters often react with a sense of tongue-in-cheek self awareness to the nonsense happening all around them. They readily accept it, because it’s the world they live in. The story and the situations are allowed to be convoluted in a way that fantasy / sci fi can get away with.

At the same time, this is a story about death. I’m one to believe that if you want to make an impact on your audience, entertain them at first; let them enjoy the story with a smile, and then strike with the pathos. It leaves a bigger impression. When characters die in Bloodfest, it is always meaningful.

What is the next novel that you are writing and when will you publish it?

After we made the first stop motion film in 1997, we went on to make a Bloodfest 2
There is definitely a sequel on the way. I’m about 80% through the first draft with a clear intention in mind. The scenario for Bloodfest 2 is very exciting, and oddly prescient with current world events, considering that the source material is over twenty years old. The old gang will be joined by some great new character who I simply cannot leave in the limbo of unfinished novels.

Author Links: GoodReads Twitter Facebook Website

Bloodfest by [Grimbly, Ryan, Maddison, James]

Pacoven, an isolated island chain hidden in the Pacific Ocean. Far from the public eye and carefully monitored by a secretive government order. A place where they can conduct social experiments to influence the rest of mankind.

On Pacoven, unexpected events are usually encouraged for the sake of analysis, but now the dead are coming back to life, and things are getting out of hand.

An elite squad of soldiers armed with extraordinary rare abilities – the gift of magic – head out to investigate the islands. Specially trained for such strange situations, captain Ace Mcdagger and his team must gather survivors and face hordes of zombies, demi-gods, and man-made monsters to discover the cause of the mess before it goes global.

But maybe there is no resolution. Maybe the Grim Reaper – the very nature of Death itself – is their enemy.

The Bloodfest begins.

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I Was Once A Victim

Daisy Thomas Author Interview

Daisy Thomas Author Interview

Destined To Date A Good Man gives readers practical solutions to finding a Godly man and avoiding counterfeits. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I’ve seen so many women’s lives destroyed behind counterfeit men, and I’m fed up. I can relate to their suffering, because I was once a victim myself.

You give practical advice in a straightforward manner that I enjoyed. What were some ideals that were important for you to capture in this book?

I feel it is extremely important for me to expose the tactics and tricks that counterfeits use to manipulate their victims. It’s equally important for me to reveal how to spot them, avoid them, or break free.

What is a common misconception people have about dating and finding the right partner?

Women often believe that if he looks trustworthy, says the right things, or does good deeds, that he’s a good man. In many instances, this may be the farthest thing from the truth. Counterfeits are great actors, and can fool many people.

What do you hope readers take away from your book?

This book will equip women with tools to empower them, and protect them from counterfeit men.

Author Links: Website | Amazon

Destined To Date A Good Man: No More Counterfeits! by [Thomas, Daisy]Do you feel as if he’s hiding something, but you don’t know what it is? If so, you may be dealing with a counterfeit. A counterfeit is a man who will mask his true intentions while he intentionally wastes your time, drains your resources, breaks your heart, or abandons you at his convenience. Since he is able to mimic the behaviors of a good man, he’ll manage to scam many women throughout his lifetime. It’s time to be empowered! Christian Author, Daisy Thomas will expose eight different types of counterfeits. She will also reveal numerous strategies a counterfeit will use to deceive you, and turn your life upside down. If you want to avoid getting played by a counterfeit, this book is for you. Inside you’ll find biblical and practical solutions to give you the best outcome. You’ll be empowered to recognize and break free from counterfeits in your life!

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Paradox

Paradox is an intense read. Even though it’s basically a paragraph or two centered on each page, nearly all of them are hefty topics. The book is divided into four sections. However, it does not follow a traditional storytelling pattern. Instead the sections refer to the emotions that are evoked during the read. It is a fairly all-encompassing book- I’d have difficulty naming topics that it didn’t manage to cover. Everything from love, life, death, technology, philosophy, wisdom, psychology, nature. Everything is critically analyzed, re-analyzed, and stripped down to the core. Technically, one could refer to this as a collection of poems but it seems to transcend categorization. Also, I’m pretty sure that’s kind of the point.

Although I would never disrespect this book by calling it self-help, there were some strange observations that I encountered while reading it. I was implementing changes in myself; sitting up a little straighter, noticing more, listening more carefully, and paying attention to the decisions I made. Some of the passages feel like a sharp, cold breeze that wake you up. It’s so easy to succumb to the lethargy and passivity of life, but a jolt like this is required once in a while. Even if it doesn’t have the power to tell you what to live for, it reminds you that you’re still alive.

The passages about the connection between technology, especially social media, and the ego, or mask that you put on, were especially striking. They managed to voice issues and thoughts that are extremely relevant to this generation. Often, when I’m on any social media platform, I get the feeling that there is something problematic about all the pretension. It’s easy to brush that feeling away, because if the herd is doing it, so can you. This book shoots down that voluntary ignorance and encourages you to embrace the discomfort. There’s no glory in watching life pass you by.

It’s a strange exercise of the brain, reading this book. It’s almost doing sit-ups and looking in on itself. A little dizzying but how often does your mind get to do adventure sports. It was a strange and refreshing read that left me in a introspective mood. It’s the perfect read for anyone who likes to be haunted with their thoughts long after the book is over, but in wonderful ways. Go in with an open mind, and you will leave a different person.

Pages: 234 | ISBN: 1792977816

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Blood On The Chesapeake

Blood on the Chesapeake (The Haunted Shores Mysteries) by [Overbeck, Randy]

Darrell Henshaw is the keeper of many secrets–most of which are not entirely his own. When he decides to make a change and accept a job in a new school, he fully expects to leave all of his ghosts behind–literally. Entering this new school and beginning the season as the coach of Wilshire, Maryland’s high school football team, should be an exciting time for Darrell, but his past and present are now blurring together. He finds himself in the throes of researching the decades old story of a suicide that took place at the school. In addition, Darrell finds himself dredging up memories that might better be left alone.

Randy Overbeck’s Blood on the Chesapeake follows main character, Darrell Henshaw, on an epic journey of historic proportions as he tackles racial injustice and attempts to correctly label a suicide as a murder. With pertinent mentions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, Overbeck has crafted a murder mystery for the ages that encourages readers to investigate their own feelings regarding social injustices.

Overbeck could not have taken a more perfect route than the diary he opted to have Darrell find and peruse. Kelly’s diary is not only the most telling sign that Hank was murdered, it is also an amazing glimpse into life in the 60s and a sure sign that desegregation was, in many areas of the US, as violently protested as it ever was decades prior. The readings of the diary by Darrell and Erin, his love interest, make the book. I could almost smell the mildewed pages, and I felt the characters’ frustration as they battled through the diary’s pages to piece together the mystery that is Kelly and Hank’s fates.

Overbeck’s pace is spot on and makes for a thoroughly engaging and quick read. With no excessive filler material, the author moves seamlessly from one tragic event and clue to the next.  Overbeck makes readers yearn for closure.

One of the most amazing aspects of Overbeck’s work is the way in which he conveys the characters’ feelings toward racism. Blood on the Chesapeake is not a book to be enjoyed; it is a book to appreciate for the reminders it provides readers. With mentions of lynchings and the KKK leading up to the setting of this book, and Overbeck gives readers a clear look at the way racism and bigotry continued to leak far beyond the bounds of the deep South even after desegregation began to make its way across the US.

Though the book is clearly focused on events from the 60s via Kelly’s diary, the plot is timely considering the state of today’s world. Readers will find themselves quickly caught up in Darrell’s descriptions of his ghostly encounters and eagerly awaiting each and every clue.

Pages: 296 | ASIN: B07N3BZBPR

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Myth Agent – Trailer

It’s 1945, soon after VJ Day. Odessa Shatto, an antiques dealer, is pierced in the side by a prehistoric bone. The next morning she awakens, horrified to see a hideous green slime creeping over her, hardening into a cocoon that quickly entombs her in darkness and leaves her fearing for her life. Each time it happens, she remembers feeling a sense of being thrown hard, as though from the hand of a giant. And the last time, she remembers her trajectory crossing with that of her fiancé, a soldier who has been injured in the Pacific in World War Two. They may think of their paths crossing as a gift, but in reality it will produce agonizing results.

Ruttledge Rosenbaugh, a professor of science devoted to his students at Hensley University, has spent years learning from his mentor, whose mantra was that time travelers are constantly around and unnoticed. But nothing Ruttledge has ever heard or read on time travel prepares him for what he witnesses in his secret laboratory in 1910. After recuperating from the ordeal, he spends years trying to prove the existence of time travel, while a jealous rogue from his past lies in wait, hoping to debunk any time travel theory the professor develops–no matter the cost.

Myth Agent is a time travel tale, woven of the fantastic, and interspersed with traces of historical fiction.

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Son of the Serpent

Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angels Series Book 2) by [Quiroz-Vega, Vashti]

Son of the Serpent by Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a fantasy novel of vengeance and revenge told from the dual perspective of Dracul, the Son of the serpent, and Lillith, his mother.

Dracul arises in a cave and discovers that he’s encased in a demonic body. He’s filled with agony and confusion as he pieces together his memories to determine how he arrived there. In a painful and shocking epiphany, he realizes that he is the son of Lilith, and that Lilith had tried to kill him. He vows to find out what happened and avenge himself. On this bloodthirsty journey, he faces death, destruction, and betrayal. People, encounters, and events further cement his determination for revenge. The author breathes new life into a host of fantastical characters, often from Biblical settings. Their lives and stories are familiar, yet enshrouded in darkness.

What I found most striking about the book was the depth of its darkness and morbidity. Vivid, gory scenes of slaughter left me uncomfortable, but totally engrossed. Lilith’s sections were almost unbearable. Scenes of Lilith’s cruelty towards others was always accompanied by a fascinating glimpse into her psyche. There’s a lot going on in her and just a surface glimpse was enough to leave me mesmerized. It’s been a while since I encountered such a well-portrayed and dislikable antagonist.

Dracul was just as well-written. His struggle to be good in the face of his own destiny was oddly inspiring. To fight where he came from, to whom he belongs, and the core of his being- his pain and loneliness were palpable. The ending was unexpected, but upon consideration, entirely perfect. Maybe it’s not inherent to him, but it’s clear that Dracul is a good creature.

The Biblical settings and references provided a whole new perspective on the worn-out stories. From angels to Cain and Abel, the otherworldly features heavily in this book- and not always in a favorable light. The Biblical events portrayed from a first-person and real-time perspective were super imaginative. I think it would be difficult to assign a genre to this book. Although it is set primarily in a fantasy world, the dashes of horror, romance, and the occult would make it an interesting read for nearly anyone. The world created by Vashti Quiroz-Vega is totally immersive. I was glad for the escape from reality and I would definitely visit again.

Pages: 303 | ASIN:  B07HS4C3B7

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Confessions of Eden

Confessions of Eden: A Riveting Spy Thriller (Michelle Reagan Book 1) by [Shinberg, Scott]

Michelle Reagan, alias Eden, is a CIA covert operator who conducts secret missions all over the world, and does what only a few can: take away someone’s life without getting caught. But having an undercover profession like this is not easy. Michelle works hard to be successful and gain the recognition of her boss and colleagues while trying to maintain a personal life and relationship. Every day, Michelle has to live with a burden, the moral consequences of killing innocent people. But can she handle it without going insane? And can she succeed and stay alive in this dangerous, male-dominated career?

The Confessions of Eden by Scott Shinberg is by far the best espionage thriller I have read this year: rich in action, danger, and unexpected turns. The plot is made up of Michelle’s reminiscences. This novel serves as her memoir in which she tells her story. The missions mentioned in the book are gripping and adventurous and filled with dangerous events. I liked the way the short stories and the descriptions of the missions came after each other and, despite the time gaps, there was no break in the story line, everything just falls into place to create a bigger story.

Michelle Reagan is an ambitious, hard-working agent, or assassin, who grows more confident as the story progresses. At first, she suffers from the psychological consequences of killing someone whose only fault is to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, but then, as her character develops and transforms from Michelle into Eden, she learns how to handle it. Her boss Michael and her two colleagues play an important role in Michelle’s life, and I appreciated how they supported her character development and I felt like they bring out another dimension to her character which really rounds her out. Because Michelle’s private life is built upon lies, she has difficulties finding and keeping a partner without getting exposed. This contrast between personal and private lives is something that I found intriguing and well balanced in this book.

Scott Shinberg is a talented author who can make you feel like you are in the middle of a CIA office with undercover agents. He catches the reader’s attention with the very first sentence and holds it right to the end. I look forward to reading the next Michelle Reagan novel.

Pages: 333 | ASIN:  B07PTPHTXS

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Experiment X: Exposed

Experiment X: Exposed by [Haase, Nikki]

Experiment X: Exposed is the second installment of the Experiment X Trilogy. Exposed jumps right back into the lives of Karen and her commands a year after their escape from Dr. Thaddeus’s lab. Those freed from the horrors of their capture spend their days slowly recovering and training their elemental powers. It isn’t long until Dr. Thaddeus makes a grand appearance on national television to unveil his new plan to create an army of superhumans; Experiment R. The unsuspecting population rejoice. Soon droves of volunteers sign up to take part with the promises of wealth and prestige. At the same time, Karen receives a coded message from her former captain embarking her on a journey that once again puts Hher physical and mental capabilities to their limits.

For those who enjoyed the first book, I highly recommend the second. If Sacrifice was about Karen discovering her powers, Exposed is about mastering them. Needless to say, Karen is back at it, supercharged, and ready to go.

Despite the obvious difference in power, Karen is a relatable character. Her anger, pride, and raw emotions are illustrated with such care from a first-person perspective. As the main character, Karen is portrayed with enough detail to make her believable and yet still given room to grow. She is a strong girl with a strong personality. Such perfection with one character made the haphazard way that other characters were thrown in seem jarring. Because the story is from a first-person perspective, all other character growth is described through Karen’s thoughts. Some of the major players are well remembered for their importance to Karen. However, many new characters are not given the time to develop a relationship with the main character.

The pacing, I thought, quickly moved from one event to the next with barely any transition; I was left with no concrete timeline. Although the author mentioned tentative time frames, and the ambiguous period of various events was intentional, every section of the story felt similar.

But these are minor glitches in a book that has a lot of potential for the characters and expanding story line. These issues only stand out to me because I was so invested in the character and story. Nikki Haase has command of an entertaining writing style that elevates Experiment X: Exposed above many of the dystopian fiction I’ve read this year.

Pages: 262 | ASIN: B06W9NC7B7

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Phoebe Douse:S3A2

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Pheobe Douse, Secret Society for Special Abilities and Artefacts allows a view into the life of young Pheobe, a high school student whose tendency to be unusually distinct has her feeling like an outcast. After her grandmother dies, it leaves her even more unsure about herself. Her grandmother would always tell stories that seemed fantastical about her life and travels. Phoebe took those moments for granted and when she can no longer have them, she is left feeling guilty. When she receives a strange invitation to attend school in Scotland she accepts the offer with the approval of her parents. She has no close ties outside of her family and she hopes for an adventure like the ones her grandmother had lived.

She soon realizes that while she fits in more readily than she ever has before, this sense of belonging actually makes the new school, her new classmates and her surroundings pretty extraordinary. When she finally begins to accept the possibilities that come with being extraordinary in an extraordinary place, she finds herself torn between her loyalty to her new friends and her grandmother’s legacy. Pheobe has to figure out who she is able to trust before secret forces lead her on a path of no return.

It would be unsurprising if L. Samuels’ debut novel lands on the bestseller list. Any of the millions of Harry Potter fans would be a fan of Pheobe Douse and the well crafted, gifted characters L. Samuels brings to life. The origin of the main character is seeped in a legacy that is undeniably powerful but shrouded in mystery.

Every event and continuation was strategically laid out in a way that caused constant anticipation. Even so, at each moment of conflict, climax and revelation, there were still surprises. There were no moments of overwhelming unpredictability but the pace of events varied and provided an emotionally dynamic experience.

The least agreeable aspect of the book is that the reader is left wanting to know what happens next and in the world of storytelling, this kind of itch usually happens after a satisfying read. The best part is that a second installment is expected so the anticipation continues!

Pages: 348 | ISBN: 978-1-7322846-7-8

 

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