In Book III the Triumviratus Makenna’s dad’s soul is taken to the lowest level of Hell and her two best friends traverse the nine levels of hell to rescue her dad’s soul. What were some sources that inspired this novels development?
Certainly, a big influence was Dante’s Inferno. I even reference it in the book. Another big influence was my wife, Misty. She tends to push me to write more emotionally and graphically.
I enjoyed how creative this story is. What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?
I really enjoyed writing the scenes when the boys are travelling through the Under realms. This for me was a no holds barred imagine-fest. When you are creating your own version of hell, there are no limits. The biggest challenge was making it original and real all at the same time.
Your characters continue to be as interesting as ever. What character do you feel you resonate with the most?
I would have to say the character I resonate with the most is the irascible, wise-cracking Fluffy. He is my humorous voice, and he is just fun to write.
What can readers expect in book four in The Chronicles of the Virago series?
In the next in the series, readers can expect love triangles, more secrets of Makenna’s origins, more from the twin-gift Emilyne and Noah, and a host of new colorful characters.
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Sky Curse: The Chosen Five is a sci-fi and fantasy novel that follows five young adults, who are chosen to fulfill a Mayan prophecy and must locate crystals that will hopefully save the Earth. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Sky Curse series aims to bring hope for Earth’s future, while analyzing causes that might bring its demise, like environmental chaos. It was important for me to bring up the mighty Mayan civilization that disappeared abruptly and the recent research that suggests that human-made environmental disasters had caused their demise.
The protagonist Cecilia is just like any one of us. She’s quite ordinary with a lot of problems of her own. At the beginning of the book, she has nothing to do with climate change activism. Until she gets hold of a mysterious crystal that gives her some magical powers. With her newfound abilities, she tries to save the world from an impeding apocalypse.
Readers say Sky Curse is a page-turner that…
- reads like “news from the future,”
- which helps understand the present,
- while learning from the ancient past (the Maya, Roman Empire, etc.)
As for the inspiration for the setup – many people, especially teens and young adults, suffer from climate anxiety, but unfortunately feel helpless to do anything about it. They give up. They call the subject “depressing” and steer away from it. They get depressed about their future and the future of the next generations. That’s exactly how I felt before I started writing the Sky Curse series. Sharing my feelings on the subject with the world made me feel that I’m actually doing something about it, however small. It’s an empowering feeling to have and it’s that exact feeling that I want to share with the world. I would like to start some empowering and educational conversations around topics that cause climate and even AI anxiety. This book aims to inspire sustainability-related action without causing any feelings of guilt or inferiority to the readers.
Did you create an outline for the five chosen ones in the story before you started writing or did the character’s personalities grow organically as you were writing?
I did a little bit of both. I had had an initial outline for their characters, but later I added intricate story layers to the manuscript during the editorial process. The new and improved plot drove the characters’ personalities to grow organically and dramatically with the story, while I was reviewing the storyline over and over again.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
This is a highly entertaining, action-paced novel that touches upon topics such as the environment, mental health and resilience (happiness and self-fulfilment,) the future of ai and technology, spirituality etc.
I believe that the world has never been more fragile than it is now, but it’s definitely worth saving. We live in unprecedented times when our sustainability efforts as well as our technological advances and failures will soon define humanity. We must discuss important questions: will humans soon live, work, collaborate, compete, and integrate with machines? Will humans become an interplanetary species? Will human cloning become the norm? If so, what would that look like? What are our collective and individual roles in imagining and then shaping this future?
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
First, lets’ mention my previous book. Reaching Beyond Ourselves: Leading a Spiritual, Peaceful and Diverse World is my poetry book that tells my own personal story of enjoying different cultures and speaking different languages on my journeys from Ukraine to Israel to Canada. You can find it on Amazon Books.
As for the next book – the outline of the second book in the Sky Curse series is mostly written at this point and the novel will be called Sky Curse: Trial by Fire. It will shed light on some of the unresolved mysteries of book 1, while presenting new mysteries and adventures. Expected to be available in 2023. Please subscribe to my website to get notification about its release.
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The Devil’s Calling, by Michael Kelley, is the second installment in the author’s trilogy, which picks up nine years after the events of The Lost Theory. The story follows Sean Byron McQueen and quantum physics professor Emily “M” Edens, who enjoy thriving careers as campus college professors. Emily develops a theory of constant creation, which quickly establishes her as a top scientist in the community. However, Sean becomes protective of her when he receives a telepathic message warning him that Emily is in danger. Sean learns of Emily’s possible fate through a spiritual guide, and soon, he will also face a returning nemesis, the Guru, or is it all just in his mind?
Kelley writes a fast-paced, exciting story that keeps the reader curious with suspense and anticipation. I found this second book in the series thrilling and fun, with a unique plot and interesting characters, which make the read worthwhile. The story is written in the first person, which gives readers Sean’s point of view, and how he gets pulled into a fascinating world that may be real or a construction of his imagination. As the plot develops and involves Emily, or “M,” the pace becomes more intriguing and unpredictable, which kept me turning the pages.
Kelley does a great job of drawing the reader in and capturing your attention with a plot and predicament that spirals into a creative and thought-provoking story. I found the book interesting in how it delves into the character’s inner conflict and what they must face when their lives take an unexpected twist.
The Devil’s Calling by Michael Kelley is an unusual but well-written story. It’s an excellent book for fans of science fiction, mystery, and the complexities of people, society, and our minds. I enjoyed the conflict in the book, which was almost symbolic while getting into the mind of Sean Byron McQueen, a fantastic character, and I look forward to reading more from Michael Kelley.
Pages: 531 | ASIN : B0BF63Z7XW
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Immortal Treasures, by SJ. Turner is the story of a girl who has experienced tragedy. She was born with magic, and after everything she has experienced, she fears it more than anything. Olivia is the key to revealing secrets of the past and bringing back a sovereign vampire.
Olivia just wants to be a normal girl and live a life without magic. However, her grandma and aunt know she has great power if she’d just unlock it. While going through antiques, they find a book belonging to a legendary vampire clan. Olivia’s grandmother believes the book was created by the Goddess and will only be read by the one with the blood of the interpreter. She believes this book is what will finally get Olivia to accept the power she holds. When opening the book, Olivia can read the script when all others have only seen blank pages.
Olivia meets Cassian Laurent, Cash, while using her power to fight off a vampire. He gains her trust and asks for her help reading what is in the journal so they can resurrect his father, Julien. Through her readings, Olivia is transported in time and shown memories of Julien Laurent, the leader of the vampire clan. Together Cash and Olivia, along with help from both sides, discover the secrets of the timekeeper’s journal and bring Julien back to life.
The writing style in this book is strong throughout. The plot moves quickly and keeps the reader engaged. The relationships between the characters were interesting to read, especially the love developing between Olivia and Cash. The layering of stories and differing timelines added depth to the book, making me want to keep reading.
I am giving Immortal Treasures by SJ. Turner, 5 out of 5 stars. This book has a great storyline with intricate characters. However, the ending left me wanting the sequel immediately. I would highly recommend this book if you love mysteries, romance, magic, and strong characters.
Pages: 335 | ASIN : B0BBLY1N73
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Vandella by M. Ch. Landa is an interesting book about a girl facing certain death after a cancer diagnosis. When she’s presented with an opportunity to trade her cancer-ridden life for her grandmother’s soul, she embarks on a supernatural journey through the world of the undead. However, once she begins this new path, many obstacles lie ahead, and unexpected encounters with famous personalities and people from her life have passed onto the afterlife.
I enjoyed the worldbuilding and landscapes created by the author, which are expansive and innovative. While the concept of this tale is common, the author explores it with new twists and intriguing characters. While I found the theme a bit simplistic at times, it’s a refreshing, gentle read that explores human connection and the will to survive. When Maia discovers her cancer, previously in remission, returns, she must decide whether to face her illness or take another journey that will plunge her into a world of mystery and the unknown.
As the reader delves into this new world, Maia discovers there are many obstacles to explore, from a train that takes passengers into the sky to a vibrant ballroom and an abandoned, haunted country residence. It’s a tale that ignites a sense of survival and a quest for another chance. As Maia is faced with saving a close relative, only to risk her own life in the process.
The author creates great character development who must face difficult situations while questioning the value of their existence. For example, Maia must decide if Sidney is in love with her or whether there is hope for them. I enjoyed the overall story and Landa’s take on a unique romance story while tackling themes of uncertainties in life and mortality.
Vandella by M. Ch. Landa is a teen and young adult magical realism novel. There are themes of dark fantasy and some romance throughout the original writing style and enjoyable storyline.
Pages: 303 | ASIN: B09GK557PF
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Desert Angels by Lyman Ditson is an eloquently written short story interspersed with bursts of poetry throughout and charmingly drawn illustrations. The reader follows our protagonist and his dog Lion as he wanders the desert trying to find his way home to his cabin. Along the way, he meets a host of characters amidst a series of fantastical interactions with them, starting with a Slavic angel named Boris, who implores him to conduct a sacred mission.
The desert wanderer appears in an active state of confusion and, following his meeting with Boris, is catapulted to the bow of a ship where he meets a parrot trying to seek the tree of eternity.
Throughout the book, various philosophical themes are examined, from immortality to the secret of life. In addition, the theme of belief is addressed throughout the story, with multiple characters asserting what they promised can only come true if the recipient truly believes it will happen.
Ditson’s writing is both philosophical and humorous. I particularly liked the funny aspects of the book; it was both easy to read and comical, which made the story entertaining. All the characters are well thought out and written with sharp, flowing dialogue. The dynamic between the protagonist and his dog is particularly amusing as Lion the dog begins to talk.
The author Lyman Ditson is clearly a talented poetry writer, and the poems included throughout add a level of depth to the story. I liked how the poems are spread through the book, making them easier to relate to compared to a traditional volume of poetry. The book’s ending is somewhat ambiguous, and we are left wondering what exactly happened to the protagonist. However, that suits the style of the story. Readers looking to take an adventure with side trips into the author’s poetry and philosophical thoughts will find this short read magical.
Pages: 78 | ASIN : B0B57RBP6K
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Taiwan Butterfly is a riveting gothic fantasy novel that begins in December 1949 in China when 35-year-old British missionary Jonathan Woods is in the middle of a battlefield and finds his mortally wounded friend, Chen Ming-Yu. On his dying breath, Ming-Yu asks Jonathan to go to safety, to his homeland Taiwan and find Ming-Yu’s daughter Chen Mei-Ying. Before he dies, he vows to Jonathan to use the enchanted butterfly book for something greater. Eventually, Jonathan gets to Taiwan, transferred, and injured. His path to Mei-Ying leads him to experience love, loss, and magic.
Taiwan Butterfly offers readers a unique fantasy world with a backstory that is well thought-out and lore that feels deep. Set during the Chinese Civil war this rousing book combines historical fiction with fascinating magical elements that keep readers intrigued throughout the narrative. I enjoyed this book because of the clear writing and mystique surrounding the elements of the storyline. This was a fun book to read because the characters are easy to follow and understand, but also because we get glimpses of the mystery throughout the story and those glimpses are so compelling. What is the secret Book of the Butterfly and which purpose does the book have?
The authors writing style is succinct and gives the narrative voice a unique quality, making this an easy book to read and makes it perfect for young adult readers. But even with this we’re still treated to gripping scenes with vivid descriptions, imaginative world building, and creative use of magic.
Taiwan Butterfly is a fast-paced teen fantasy story that cleverly combines romance, mystery and magic to create a dark magical realism story that kept calling me back every time I put the book down.
Pages: 184 | ASIN: B0B74Q82BN
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In A Small, Quiet Village follows Adam, a stranger that arrives in a village before a disastrous storm is set to hit. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.” is what I was going for with Adam. While it’s only briefly alluded to in the book, Adam is trying to escape a sordid past, fearful that it may catch up to him eventually. The village seems like the perfect place for him to leave all of his troubles behind and start life anew.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
The inactive, the mundane and the boring. An exploration of daily life, and doing my best to keep it engaging. Coming of age also plays its part in this book, particularly with Sabrina dealing with the permanent loss of her best friend, and learning how to carry on without him there.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on Village’s sequel. I mean, given the post-epilogue ending, I kind have to write one, don’t I? 😉 It should be available … um … several months after a few heavy edits. So probably sometime around late 2023, but no promises!
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