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Shaped By Wars And Conflicts

J.L. Feuerstack Author Interview

Over the Broad Earth follows two Celestial brothers, God and Satan, who can only unleash their sibling rivalry when humans engage in combat. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted to explore a different dynamic from the traditional depiction of Satan as a fallen angel or jinn, and therefore inferior to God. Setting the two on equal footing allowed me to pursue a narrative where each side approaches a battle across the millennia with the same advantages and disadvantages. Instead of Satan being a rebel, for this story he has his own plans and claims to authority. I was inspired by Greek and Norse mythology, which contain many examples of competing gods. In those stories, such as the Iliad, gods are invested in and interfere with the outcomes of the mortal world. Much of the course of history has been shaped by wars and conflicts. For a long time humans believed their conflicts were mirrored by warring deities. I wanted the war between God’s and Satan’s armies to occur in tandem with human conflict.

Your characters are unique and have a compelling backstory. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

The characters of Over the Broad Earth live across many different ages. They experience similar situations throughout due to the similarities within warfare, regardless of the era. However, what changes in the course of the novel are the internal mental state and motivations of the characters. They continually vacillate from confidence to doubt, valor to cowardice, selflessness to selfishness, sacrifice to self-preservation, and many other emotions and outlooks. These ever-changing attitudes send the characters down an oft-chaotic and unexpected development curve.

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

The search for meaning and purpose in the face of an absurd and meaningless world was a central theme. I wanted to explore sources of motivation; love, lust, recognition, survival, acceptance, power, and hate, and how the pursuit and fulfillment of these motivations can provide a sense of either meaning or emptiness. The Demons and Angels of Over the Broad Earth do not age and therefore have the potential to live forever, however, they can be killed. I did this so they could be comparable to humans. Death is always there lurking and yet we try to push that reality to the back of our minds by focusing on what we want. I also tried to explore what it means to be an individual within a collective. Over the Broad Earth contains a host of characters, some the reader will meet intimately, others briefly. In the same way, the main characters are surrounded by a multitude – they form strong bonds with some – they barely interact with others. Over the course of the story, the characters will influence and be influenced by those around them and are compelled to come to grips with how they intend to fit into the kaleidoscope of which they are a member.

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

I am currently working on And They Marched Up, Volume III of The Saga of Fallen Leaves. In this volume, I explore the stories of some supporting characters from Over the Broad Earth and introduce some new ones. Hopefully And They Marched Up will be available in January 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Over the Broad Earth presents a sweeping fantasy tale of the eternal struggle between Angels and Demons. This imaginative tale tracks the continuing contest of two Celestial brothers, God and Satan, who, by ancient decree, can only unleash their sibling rivalry when human beings engage in combat.

The citizens of both Heaven and Hell endure all the emotions and circumstances of the humans they routinely inhabit, love, valor, passion, treachery, bravery, and heartache. Readers will follow the exploits of two of the greatest “eternal” warriors of the ages: Lord Zinc II (Heaven) and Schizophrenia “Schitz” Incenderos Nervosa (Hell). The rivals battle one another throughout history from the struggle between the Babylonians and Assyrians in the desert through and beyond the teeming jungles of Southeast Asia.

Along the way, these intrepid fighters interact with a host of characters (Moses, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and more), friends, fiends, and lovers. Displaying the same traits of compassion and selfishness known to all of Creation, Schitz and Zinc lead their soldiers – and try to stay alive.

No Pistol Tastes the Same

Sgt. Grimm (J.P) opts to serve his country. Away from his family, he takes solace in the camaraderie of his fellow Marines, including Joey, his best friend. But it all goes wrong when Grimm loses his friend and other men he could have saved if he had acted faster. The patriotic soldier later returns from the war into the arms of his wife, son, and grandparents. But burdened by guilt and haunted by the bombs, blood, and deaths from the war, Grimm is not the same man he was when he left home. And his new demons threaten to tear apart everything and everyone he calls home. The question is, will he let them?

Although its curious title doesn’t give this away, No Pistol Tastes The Same is a gripping novel on post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans. It peels away the layers of unfamiliarity and reveals the deeply disturbing and lingering effects war has on the minds and lives of those who fight in it.

This story reminds me of why storytelling is a powerful tool to evoke empathy. Author Jacob Paul Patchen’s writing successfully transports readers into his main character’s reality, making an unfamiliar situation seem like a shared reality. Patchen is also great with imagery as he improves the reading experience with evocative descriptions of settings.

The story is delivered with the elegance and precision of a true wordsmith. Make no mistake, there aren’t flowery words or unclear metaphors. Instead, readers feel the total weight of a narrative cobbled with tools whose sophistication is in their cultured simplicity. The writing is so good that it strikes the heart where it matters in many places, ensuring that you feel the raw emotions being communicated. Altogether, the story is free-flowing, mainly punctuated by the moments of reflection and concern it triggers.

No Pistol Tastes the Same is a captivating war novel dealing with life after returning from war. The plot is pretty straightforward but excellently executed. The characters are relatable and make readers care about this remarkable story.

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Teamwork, Determination, and a Strong Moral Compass

Author Interview Michael J. Farlow

Crucible: Records of the Argos follows a young captain who embarks on his first mission and finds an enemy threatening his ship and the inhabitants of the system he was sent to investigate. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The previous series, The Host Saga, had come to an end. I wanted to try something new with new, young characters. I picked the son of the previous lead character from The Host Saga to be the lead in this series. His assignments and adventures, however, would be completely different. His crew would be a diverse mix of characters that he meets along the way or is assigned. I had in mind that this new young crew and ship would develop as a team in their own rights and that they would find themselves in new places and in circumstances that would challenge them and see them grow. Finally, I wanted something different to separate this crew and ship from those of the previous series. That comes in the form of an onboard AI that undergoes a dramatic change when the ship, the Argos, strikes something odd when exiting hyperspace. The changes in the AI become, to be nice, quirky with an odd sense of humor.

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

First, there is a link to the previous books in that Nick is the son that Van Childs did not know he had until the end of the Host Saga. Therefore, he has some of his father’s characteristics but has his own style. He has a mix of military experience as an intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy and experience in Iraq. Second, He wants to be his own man and chart his own future with a team and a ship he can trust. Third, he will make mistakes and learn from them. Fourth, the team operates an old, tired cargo ship which has been extensively upgraded internally to support an intelligence mission. It also has some unique but limited combat capability. Finally, even though women have thrown themselves at Nick in the past, he has still not figured them out.

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

Teamwork, determination, and a strong moral compass. Nick will normally choose what he thinks is morally correct even if it conflicts with his orders. His attitude is that if his superiors don’t like it, he will quit and move on. Both Nick and his crew never give up despite the odds or the difficulties they face. The crew count on each other, are proud to be the team they are and have no plans to separate.

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

Unfortunately, the prime antagonists from Crucible escaped capture. Nick’s next set of orders is to find them and bring them to justice. The follow-on book, Retribution, follows the crew of the Argos as they seek out the Arkon Red, Gurko, and the Arkon Blue, Berzalius. As in life, nothing is easy. In a new planetary system from their previous adventure, the team is exposed to a more complex and diverse group of countries than in Crucible. The countries in this book are less advanced than in Crucible, making the team’s job more of a challenge. They are also hampered because of tighter restrictions on their actions from higher authorities. Finding the bad guys might be the easy part. Capturing them, not so easy.

Author Links: Amazon | Website | Facebook

Nick Hall, the young captain of the disguised intelligence ship Argos, embarks on his first mission. He soon finds the task is not simple and straightforward. An enemy springs forward which threatens not only his ship and crew but all of the inhabitants of the planetary system he was sent to investigate. Cut off from his homeworld and with only his small crew and a quirky AI, he must improvise to save himself, his crew, and all the inhabitants of a threatened world. This science fiction thriller combines continuous action, suspense, and a little humor with a cast of new and diverse characters.

Twist My Heart

Twist My Heart by author Brooke Taylor is the first book of the wicked games series. It narrates the story of a feisty fugitive trying her best to convince a retired Navy SEAL to help her and her dog.

Thea, or as Nik calls her, Tigger, suffers from amnesia, and the only thing she knows is that she’s on the run and must keep her dog Titan by her side. At first, the retired Navy SEAL is reluctant to help her, but he gives in. So they are on the run, trying to find out more about Thea’s past life and who’s looking for her. All the while, the sexual attraction between the two keeps on growing every minute they spend together.

Taylor’s descriptive writing style draws readers into the story and gives them the feeling they are on the run with Nik and Thea. Additionally, by incorporating both first and third-person points of view for the characters, readers will get a full view of the thoughts and actions that are occurring in this action-filled drama.

The book’s pacing is superb. There is never a dull moment between the on-the-run action and the building romance of Nik and Thea. In addition, the mystery of Thea’s identity as it unfolds is intertwined into the action and romance seamlessly. Altogether, this makes the novel engaging and fast-paced.

Character building is a strong element of Taylor’s writing. Thea is portrayed as a strong woman. However, I felt there were some scenes showing her as a damsel in distress that needed saving by strong warrior Nick. The instances where Thea did fight for herself were refreshing and exciting and more in line with the character that is built up by Taylor.

An interesting aspect of the story is Thea’s approach to amnesia, everything’s new to her, and she’s watching the world as if through a child’s eyes, giving the reader a unique point of view on everyday details that we usually don’t think about as we do them daily.

Twist My Heart is filled with heart-racing action scenes and steamy romance that will catch the attention of action and adventure readers and romance lovers. Watching the mystery of Thea’s identity and why she is on the run unfold will keep readers hooked from beginning to end.

Pages: 396 | ASIN : B08VJGQSKQ

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Dark Enemy

In Dark Enemy, we see the struggles and victories of Van Childs of the Galactic Force against the Arkon force as well as against the new force that betrayed them. The Allies have been promised more than six hundred Naskapi ships, making the force of Van Childs the largest group of Allies. Earth is not happy with this new development, and the dissatisfaction is fueled by a politician named McDuff for his gains. While all the politics from earth prevented the expansion of Allied forces, the Arkon forces were collecting in their space. This caused Van Childs to act fast and thus began the battle in space and politics.

Author Michael J. Farlow opens the book by giving readers some explanation regarding the background of the fight that has been occurring between several space forces. This leads to the political drama that is happening back on Earth, which is directly impacting the space forces. The ongoing political battles in this novel are not so unlike what politics look like currently. Each politician has their own agenda and wants to make sure their plan is executed.

This intriguing science fiction story is told in a third-person narrative. The author gives readers in-depth details regarding the mission background; which is fantastic for readers who love strategy. Farlow knows how to capture the excitement and anticipation that comes with battles. The descriptions are brilliant, and readers will get to see the battle plan as it is developing before the actual fight starts.

The author gives a captivating description of the battle, fully immersing the reader in the story. I found the euphemistic description of the deaths of those who die in the fight to be an interesting take, and I was able to empathize with the officers. In addition, I enjoyed reading about all of the technological advances of this Galactic Force world. The author made the creation of the technology feel achievable.

Dark Enemy is a fast-paced space opera. Readers that look for detailed action sequences and fascinating technological advances will find a lot to enjoy in this science fiction novel. A post-apocalyptic world with alien forces as friends and foes creates a drama that will have readers on edge as they continue the Host Saga series.

Pages: 269 | ASIN : B083S1X8QZ

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The Post-War Dream – Book Trailer

War broke his spirit. Can he save his tormented soul from hungry inner demons?

The South Atlantic Coast, 1982. Royal Marine Fletcher Layne never expected to see combat. Enlisting despite his father’s vehement protests, he figures Argentina wouldn’t dare challenge the Falkland Islands’ mighty British sovereignty. But as all hell breaks loose over the territorial dispute, he’s devastated when a bullet misses him and kills a young comrade.

Returning home with a heavy heart plagued by guilt, Fletcher resents any celebration of his heroism and his parent’s disapproval. And as the traumatized survivor wrestles with two imagined voices of nagging conscience, he fears not even the gentle touch of a kind nurse will get him through to a peaceful tomorrow.

Can he gain ground over his anguish before the darkness drags him down forever?

The Post-War Dream is a gut-wrenching tale of historical wartime fiction. If you like insights into mental illness, vivid depictions of a bygone era, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Brian Paone’s poignant story.

Buy The Post-War Dream to face the fiends of battle today!

www.brianpaone.com

Fifteen Billion Years I: Alpha and Omega

Fifteen Billion Years I Alpha and Omega follows the story of Doctors Ames and Reed. The book begins in a secret military base disguised as an underground research center in the not-so-distant future. The book wastes very little time in making it clear that this is a dystopian future, on the brink of collapse. However, Ames and Reed are more focused on their day-to-day tasks. The two men are privy to the base’s secret. It houses a time machine.

Author Rand McLester dives straight in, throwing the two men 10 million years into the future. However, they’ve only managed to swap one dystopian future for another, which is much worse. They soon discover that the world as they know it is long dead, and society has begun again. Life in this new future is primitive and brutal. Ames and Reed venture out into this new world, scientific curiosity piqued. They make friends and enemies and learn about love and loss on their way. Ultimately, they must make decisions that will have drastic consequences in their own world and this new one.

Fifteen Billion Years I Alpha and Omega is a sci-fi book that is much more ingrained in the fiction side of things than the science. McLester inserts some interesting scientific principles into the novel, but the book leaves enough room for readers to form their own conclusions about how and why things happen. The relationship and banter between Ames and Reed are delightful. Throughout the book, they go from colleagues to brothers, which is one of my favorite parts of the book. New characters and relationships are introduced throughout the book, and the vast majority are handled well.

McLester has interesting things to say about science and religion in this alluring novel. The book is not light on subtext, giving readers a clear view of McLester’s feelings on the subjects. Readers can enjoy this as a fun time travel tale or as something a little deeper.

Fifteen Billion Years I Alpha and Omega is an engaging novel with time travel, exciting action scenes, and mysteries to be solved. There is quite a lot of violence described in detail at times, but otherwise this is a straightforward science fiction book that is easy to sit down with and enjoy for a few hours without overthinking.

Pages: 365 | ISBN : 978-1685060060

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Alien Orders

Air Force Captain Scott Ryan’s whole life changed when he spotted a mysterious craft over the night skies of the Utah desert. Alien Orders: A Science Fiction Novel is the story of a man who seeks the truth and refuses to let that truth be hidden from the human race. Fighting his way through devious government cover-ups and perilous alien subterfuge, Captain Ryan is a man on a mission–and that mission is to thwart an otherworldly threat to mankind. With the unlikely help of conspiracy theorists, dedicated military personnel, tenacious detectives, and a mysterious woman, Captain Ryan finds himself plunged into a battle for the fate of humanity.

Author Johnnie West’s Alien Orders is an old-school science fiction tale shrouded in a twisting conspiracy plot. Captain Ryan teams up with his fellow pilot, Captain Jeff Johnson, to chase down leads and investigate their strange sightings in the Utah desert. Encountering a large cast of characters, the two friends must figure out who is friend or foe as they navigate an alien plot and confront the power-hungry humans who aid them. 

Alien Orders is a quick and satisfying read with prose that is simple and straightforward. The story is more reported to the reader than experienced, which works for the blunt, military-style of writing. Chapters fly by, with action and tension rising and falling like a steady tide. After the mid-way point in the novel, the pace really speeds up. Side characters and sub-antagonists rapidly come in and out of the story offering solutions to problems and moving the storyline along. I felt that more dialog would have helped flesh out the characters. However, the overall story is tightly woven and still full of surprising twists.

Alien Orders: A Science Fiction Novel is a fantastically thrilling science fiction story. The action and drama will keep readers engaged and working right along with the characters to solve the mystery. To anyone who enjoys government cover-up stories about aliens among us, this is the book for you.

Pages: 209 | ASIN : B09PHG1QG6

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