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What The Boy Hears When The Girl Dreams

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What the Boy Hears When the Girl Dreams, by Graeme Friedman, is an absorbing account of twelve-year-old Finn Townsend’s imagination and hyperacusis. Through Finn’s eyes, the reader visualizes a somewhat stream-of-consciousness picture of this boy’s life. Friedman creatively depicts a vivid picture of the world as a preteen boy views it, imaginative, sporadic, and vibrant. Finn’s inquisitive imagination gives him the courage to investigate subjects he knows little to nothing about.

While thrown off by the lack of quotation marks, the dialogue is rich and carries the story well. Friedman’s prose effortlessly draws readers into this captivating story. I became interested in Finn’s point of view symptoms of his “Super-Hearing” and “Dizziness” attacks, as he called them, from a previous head injury from playing football. Finn downplays the symptoms of his hyperacusis, which he uses to his advantage, as his mother frets over them and insists he sees a doctor. 

Also intriguing is the bond formed between the Australian Finn, and Buseje, the African homestay student residing at his home. As the story progresses, Finn admires how Buseje tends to his sprained ankle, then protects him from overhearing a violent fight between his parents. With his super-hearing ability, young Finn takes notes of Buseje’s sleep talk ramblings, helping her to recall what she has forgotten. Together they piece her memory back together.

What the Boy Hears When the Girl Dreams is a riveting young adult story that takes readers through a vivid world as it is seen through a young boy’s imaginative eyes. This is an evocative novel with a creative plot and engrossing characters. 

Pages: 372

 

It’s Up To You

Author Interview
Axel Schillton Author Interview

Pizahn follows a futuristic Egyptian animal on a perilous quest to save his sister. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

At the time I was writing Pizahn I didn’t have an inspiration for the setup of the story. Mainly I was focused on the motivations of the characters and trying to make the story make sense as well as engaging to the readers.

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

I wrote Pizahn similar to a protagonist from a Japanese anime. However, I wanted Pizahn to also be relatable in some ways to the reader.  An example of this is going on his journey to find his baby sister.  Another example is he values his friends and family. But, Pizahn isn’t without his faults since he tends to lie in order to save himself or get what he wants.

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

To be honest there weren’t any themes or deep messages that I wanted to convey. All I wanted was to make a great story that people would enjoy. I personally feel that any form of art should be enjoyed and not try to be overanalyzed. I guess if you could take anything away from Pizahn it’s this: Regardless of how hard life gets, the world will always keep moving with, or without you, it’s up to you to decide if you want to keep going.

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

I’ve put the sequel on hiatus since I don’t know if the first book in the series is going to be published. But I’m working on a YA horror novel about a group of high schoolers that face off against a demon trying to bring about an apocalypse.

axelschilltonauthor.com

Vega Investigative Thriller Series

Author Interview
John Hazen Author Interview

Beyond Revelation follows a TV reporter who races against time to save her friend and stop a sinister cult. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?

Remember, Beyond Revelation is a book about a reporter, and a good reporter never reveals his or her sources.

A lot of research for this book came from news accounts I’ve read and heard over the years. Jonestown and the Branch Davidians are examples of cults that were big in the news during my life, so I had a knowledge of them as I wrote the book. I also made it easy on myself by making the two primary settings in the book places that I’ve lived during my life. Fairbrook, MA, is based on the small town where I grew up and the New York City metropolitan area is where I’d spent most of my life. I always try to do some reading on places I write about that I’ve never visited to get them as real as I can. In this book that would be Montana and Havana, Cuba.

What were some ideas that were important for you to personify in your characters?

My focus in this book and in the two books that preceded it in the Vega Investigative Thriller Series (Fava and Zyklon) must of course be the protagonist, Francine Vega. She’s a street-smart, New York City TV journalist. I try to portray her as having the qualities I want all journalists to have. I want her to be intelligent, persistent, questioning, and honest. Both she and her husband, FBI Special Agent Will Allen, are the epitome of integrity. I wanted them both to be the best examples they can be for their three kids.

It can be a bit tricky when you’re writing a series. After the first book, the author must present enough background on characters to inform people who haven’t read the previous editions but not too much background that you turn off or bore those who have read them. I think I’ve done that thus far in this series.

How do you balance story development with shocking plot twists? Or can they be the same thing?

I don’t believe any balance is required. They can, and should be, the same thing. In fact, I think that plot twists—shocking or otherwise—need to compliment and advance story development. They must be part of the whole. Otherwise, the plot twists look like they’re superfluous or simply inserted for shock value.

In discussing the difference between “surprise” and “suspense”, Alfred Hitchcock, used the example of a bomb taped under a table where two people are sitting. You could have the audience not know the bomb is there and then get fifteen seconds of surprised adrenaline rush when it suddenly explodes. Hitchcock would rather let the viewer know that the bomb was there ahead of time and be on the edge of their seats, not knowing if the bomb would go off or not. In this way, the audience experiences fifteen minutes, rather than fifteen seconds, of surprise. I agree with this approach. There are times and places for the unexpected, the surprise, of plot twists, but overall, I prefer the approach of building suspense over the course of a chapter or even over the arc of the entire book.

What can readers expect in book four of the Vega Thriller series?

Thus far in the Vega Investigative Thriller series we’ve had Francine expose and thwart plots that would have plunged the world into war (Fava), undermined a presidential election (Zyklon) and plunged the country into a race war (Beyond Revelation). All this has taken a toll on her. The events of Beyond Revelation were especially hard on her mentally and emotionally. In the next book, she’s going to still be the intrepid journalist who’s going to uncover stories—this time I think in the environmental field—but I will need to focus a little sharper on her personal situation and the burdens she is bearing.

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Is Beyond Revelation a reclusive religious order preparing its flock for the Second Coming, or is it a cult with much more sinister intentions?
When New York City TV reporter Francine Vega travels from ‘the City’ to a small New England town to hunt for a friend who has gone missing, she finds that the disappearance may be tied to Beyond Revelation and a Russian-funded nationwide conspiracy. To find the truth, Vega works with the Press, the FBI, religious leaders, civil rights leaders and even the President as she races against the clock to rescue her friend and avert a national calamity.

Women of Courage

Ms T N Traynor
T N Traynor Author Interview

Hope in Liverpool follows a dejected young woman who finds renewed hope in a handsome stranger that provides the prospect of a better life. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My Women of Courage series is a set of standalone stories, all of which I try to find a courageous female as the lead. In all my books in this series I would like to inspire or encourage. Hope in Liverpool is about showing that although we can go through extremely sad things in life, if we look towards hope we can be pulled out of the mire.

Each book has a unique place and time in history. I decided on Liverpool in 1958 because my mum has told me of what life was like for her back then. This isn’t her story at all, but the things like the dance hall she went to and meeting boyfriends at the pictures came from her stories.

Hope is an intriguing character that was well developed. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

I have suffered from depression in the past, and pulling yourself up out of the black pit (because nobody else can do this for you) was a very hard thing to manage. Desmond Tutu’s quote – ‘hope is being able to see that there is light, despite all the darkness’ means so much to me, and this quote was the inspiration behind this story.

Hope’s character, therefore, needed to go through dark places to be able to appreciate the light when she found it.

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

The main theme of this book is hope, I touch on forgiveness a tiny bit because I believe unforgiveness can hold us in the dark.

I also don’t think everyone ends up with a fairytale romance marriage, however, that doesn’t mean they are unhappy, so another theme is that not all marriages may be like Cinderella and Prince Charming, however, they can be full of love and kindness.

I try in each of my books to bring the settings to life, I do extensive research on how people lived, what they wore etc before I start any of my books, so besides making sure the characters were believable I always want to ensure the setting is just right, so the last theme would be Liverpool how it was in 1958.

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

I am currently working on the last book in this series. Although it is about a very courageous young woman, it is in lots of ways different to the other four, which is why I have given it a different style of book cover and title to the others. It is called Brianna Trefae and is set in England in 1667. Brianna is a woman of such faith that when she prays for people they are healed, unfortunately, this quickly gets her labeled as a witch, and brings her to the attention of the Witch Finder General. This will be the longest book in the series. I have already started researching what life was like after the civil war and other things. I am hoping it will be released in September 2022, but his is the book that has caught my heart the most and I won’t rush it so Sep is only my aim.

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A gritty romantic novella ~ where life isn’t always a bed of roses.

Can an alliance of convenience heal two broken hearts?
Liverpool, 1958. Hope Bennett longs to feel safe and wanted. Loyal to an alcoholic mother who gambles away all her hard-earned wages, she’s devastated by the announcement her family is moving and she’s not to follow. But her despondent plan to fling herself off the ferry and succumb to the freezing River Mersey is interrupted by a handsome older man.
John Walker expects to live out the rest of his days drowning in grief, isolated and lonely after the loss of his childhood sweetheart. When he spots a young woman in distress he is immediately drawn to help her.
Can the fragile dream of a better life out of the slums provide the security and companionship they both crave?
Hope in Liverpool is a deeply emotional foray into historical women’s fiction. If you like compellingly complex characters, light humor woven through heart-wrenching drama, and gripping romantic overtones, then you’ll adore T N Traynor’s poignant story.

Damaged And No Longer Under Warranty – Book Trailer

The battle to preserve eternity continues …

For Paul Tomenko, relocating trillions upon trillions of life forms on Earth to the Paraverse wasn’t all that difficult. So easy, in fact, he does it in his sleep. After slipping into a coma, Paul uses his latent divine knowledge to create the Paraverse while imagining 50 more years of continued life on Earth. Then he dumps—no pun intended—an incalculable number of souls residing in his lower intestinal tract into the new domain with the simplicity of a bowel movement.

But preserving the promise of eternal existence comes with a cost. Forced to abandon Maggie Mae Monahan, one of his two lovers, and two neo-Neanderthal children (Gronk and Grita) in what becomes known as the Originverse, Paul travels to Neoterica to begin anew with Allie Briarsworth, his other lover.

As default caretaker of the new expanse, Paul discovers he has committed a string of blunders that endanger forevermore. He can’t remember how he structured the Paraverse, and the schematics are deep inside him, retrievable piece by piece only when he makes eye contact with Allie. Unable to summon a heavenly version of Home Advisor to repair his expanse, Paul reassembles the Bioprovidence research team to make the needed modifications. But the crew lacks three of its essential members who are still in the Originverse. Challenged to create duplicates of the trio, he reluctantly does so, worried that a replica of Maggie Mae will re-create the love triangle that tormented him on Earth. And if all that wasn’t enough, the Cassamarians, fire-breathing alien insectoids determined to destroy humanity’s standing as the chosen species, have breached the barrier separating the Originverse and Paraverse.

In this sequel to Damaged Beyond All Recognition, Paul discovers how the cosmos began and who created the first universe. In doing so, he realizes he might have the power to do what untold gods before him did not: eliminate the number one scourge for all life forms.

Most of the supporting cast from the first Infinity’s Trinity novel returns in this book: Cher the Gatekeeper and Katharine Ross the Librarian, figments patterned after two celebrities for whom Paul has lusted; Gronk and Grita, two “resurrected” six-year-old neo-Neanderthals who are the most intelligent humans on Earth; Tsutomu Yamaguchi, an innovative bioengineer named after a Japanese man who survived nuclear bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and Dr. Peter Lexington Townshend, the former head of Bioprovidence now forced to assume a job he detests. In addition, some new characters join the ensemble: Dzhambo the Ukrainian Vodka-Drinking Circus Bear, Paul’s self-appointed bodyguard; a sassy Tina Turner-lookalike who patrols the most significant storage unit among the stars; and Rovert, an asylum-seeking Cassamarian who is desperately in need of dietary change.

Buckle up for an existential trip oiled with humor that glides across all that has been on the way to all that we hope will be.

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Blood In The Medicine Bowl

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Blood In The Medicine Bowl, by Steven Bryan Clegg, is a book that contains two pivotal stories, and both need to be told. The first is about the importance of awareness of poaching rhino horns for money, and the second is about the alertness of crime against humanity with the kidnapping of children. The story’s main setting is South Africa. A rhino having been poached is unlawfully sent to Vietnam to be prepared for illegal sale. The horn is boiling in a pot at Mr. Bui’s home when his 10-year-old son accidentally cuts his finger, the blood dripping into the boiling pot. Meanwhile, Detective Elizabeth Beyes works feverishly to track down and capture a kidnapper of children. Her search leads her to a magician who also steals rabbits called Magic Pete.

Author Steven Bryan Clegg begins his riveting story with a barrage of scenes and characters to setup his novels theme’s of the crime and consequences of poaching and kidnapping. His setting begins in South Africa, shoots to Vietnam, then to China, and back to Africa where he delves into the second plot involving Detective Liz Beyes and her partner, Detective Zahn Lin. Each scene is captivating, the locations are vivid and seem exotic. At times I found the introduction of so many characters a little overwhelming, but the story does a great job keeping the storylines separate, although I felt that it was hard to tell which storyline took priority. By the end of the novel, the story had come full circle and ends leaving the readers feeling satisfied. The dialogue is paced well and I enjoyed the conversations between characters in the story, which showcases Clegg’s talent of character creation. I found many of the characters to be relatable.

Blood In The Medicine Bowl is an intriguing story that dramatically explores the consequences of poaching and kidnapping in some creative and stirring ways. The combination of dual storylines ensure readers are consistently engaged with the story.

Pages: 297

 

Daughter of Pompeii

Daughter of Pompeii by [Lorraine Blundell]

In Daughter of Pompeii, author Lorraine Blundell envisions what life might have been like in Ancient Rome for a little-known girl from Pompeii, called Poppy in this historical novel, and the notorious Emperor Nero. The story begins while Poppy is just a young girl and Claudius is still emperor. Through a tragic turn of events, Poppy loses her only family and embarks on a life-long quest for vengeance. Her journey to becoming Empress of Rome eventually felt less about revenge and more about straight ambition, to change her own destiny and rise far above her station.

Poppy’s character is written sympathetically while still attempting to convey the horrific things she did. Poppy is relatable and easy to root for, but there are times I felt she was unjustified in her actions, but this spike of emotion the story created in me is the mark of good writing. Her only lasting relationship throughout the book is with a friend she makes as a young girl who journeys through life with her, ever loyal and dependable. Farzana is an intriguing moral character, which made me wish I saw more from her perspective in the book. In addition to these two characters, there is a large collection of interesting characters who flit in and out of the narrative.

The narrative is told from an omniscient perspective, and the story often jumps from character to character, switching points of view or “getting inside their head”. I thought this was a little confusing, as it wasn’t always clear whose thoughts we were following. The story covers a lot of time, making this feel like a very quick read.

This novel was well written and the story was very entertaining. There’s everything one might want from a historical novel: the historically accurate references to real people and recorded facts from their lives, the political intrigue of the time, and a glimpse into ancient life for the differing classes. We get to view major historical events through the eyes of our protagonist, bringing to life tragic events like the murder of Claudius, the burning of Rome, and Nero’s descent into madness.

If you’re a history buff, particularly interested in Ancient Rome, this book is for you. Author Lorraine Blundell provides a riveting fictional story within an already fascinating time in history. All of this is elevated by Lorraine Blundell’s captivating storytelling ability.

Pages: 262 | ASIN: B07S1S75JV

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Ontological Shock

E A. Bagby
E A. Bagby Author Interview

Illyia continues to follow Giels as he returns from his adventure and must make a decision about his future. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?

Book one was really about introducing a cast of characters and the very different world they inhabited at a moment of lost innocence. In Illyia, we get to experience the aftermath of that—what happens after an ontological shock, and how does each person react?

What were some obstacles you felt were important to developing Giels character?

I think all good characters have strengths and weaknesses that play off of each other. And it’s usually those internal forces that drive them above all else. Giels has a near didactic memory, which is perfect for becomming a great storyteller, not to mention he’s in the right family to have that talent nurtured. Yet, he’s terrified of talking in front of large crowds. Double that with the fact he’s no longer sure if he believes in the stories he recites. And that’s the tip of the iceberg. He wants to preserve his standard of living, marry his girl, prove that he’s not privelaged and on. It’s maddening, but these problems propel him forward. Underneith it all, like all of us, he’s seeking elusive balance. And, as if his normal life isn’t confusing enough, he has a whole other realm that’s tugging at him. Getting his bearings is nearly impossible.

I enjoyed the deep and detailed world you’ve created. What were some sources that informed this world’s development?

Everything. Fiction, for me, is a way to reframe real life. By exaggerating personal experiences, especially those indellable moments and memories, whether bad, good, or just odd, we can take a closer look at them. We can understand them for what they really mean. For me, that process of tranforming life to fiction is usually automatic. For example, I’m pretty sure the Underworld originally came out of my experience of moving to Manhattan from Nevada as a child. Of course, this was a big moment for me, and stories of abandoned subway stations and tunnels where so-called “mole people” lived played on my imagination. Then there was the view out of my bedroom window. Tucked in the spaces between buildings existed a hidden world of pipes and machines and latticework eleven stories below. The imagination goes wild, especially if you’re used to seeing snocapped mountains out of your window. What sort of world existed there? Rumored giant rats and waterbugs and tropics-sized dragonflies I’d see fly around now and again, possibly sustained by the heat of the machinery and the steam? At that age, you even wonder about mythical creatures, too. Could there be beauty and life, an entire ecosystem, in the unnatural ugliness? It was aweful and fascinating all in one. Did people live back there, tucked somewhere? But for storytelling, what is most important is what did those hidden features of the city mean for me, and how did they represent my transformation after the move? I’m sure some of that worked its way into the Entiria stories.

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

The next one is episode 3, The Champions. Things really start taking a turn in this episode, and the bigger picture comes more into focus. When will it be available? Well, I wish I could say next month, but it’s important to me that the writing does the story justice, so we’ll have to follow up with one another. That said, I hope not too long.

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A tale of love, adventure, magic, mythology, and tech.

Reality has now taken a hard turn into the unknown. What do you do when hell isn’t the dark world you imagined, but something much more unfathomable?


As Giels reorients himself back to life after the disorienting adventure, his friends have a different plan. Everything that tortures him, inspires them.
As possibilities begin to open up and seem endless, what route will Giels take? Will he reconcile with the council to fulfill his birthright as his tribe’s Lead Storyteller, or will the gods have their way with him, hurtling him back into the great machine?

This episode picks up where we left off from episode 1, delivering lush prose and mythology like Lord of the Rings and Mists of Avalon, strange worlds like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Ringworld, dark themes like Gormenghast, the mysteries of The Sixth Sense, and even a touch of the relationship depth of Jane Austin.

All that with tech that ranges from aluminum spears to that which rivals The City and the Stars and Star Wars.
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