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My Heroes Tend to be Flawed

Jerry Veit Author Interview

Jerry J.C. Veit Author Interview

The Glass Demon is a supernatural novel that dives into the world of spirits and haunting’s. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I was really into a TV documentary program called, A Haunting. It was about real life hauntings told by the people who lived through them. My goal was to make a fictional story that felt real enough that it could be believed to be based on a true story. I also had just watched The Rite with Anthony Hopkins. I knew I needed to write something that was super intense and scary.

What I liked most about this book was the depth of knowledge of demonology presented in the story. What type of research did you have to do to keep things accurate?

I have several books on true ghost stories and encyclopedias about the supernatural. One such book is: The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. I own about 4 of her books. The encyclopedia has profiles on some infamous demons known to plague people’s sanity and also true stories about demonic occurrences. Additionally, I did a lot of internet research about demons, and books on demons, and types and names of demons. It was purely academic with a desire to entertain, but it made me feel like I was on the borderline to receive the wrath of God. Needless to say, research was extensive.

William has had a complicated life. His avoidance of childhood demons leads him to an addiction to booze and pills. What was the inspiration for his character and backstory?

Most heroes seem to be blessed with an infinite amount of strength, courage, and knowledge. My heroes tend to be flawed. William’s journey is meant to be a humbling one. He believes there is nothing he can’t handle; even though he never dealt with his own past. When he walks into this next case he is smug. He’s most likely thinking that he is going to walk around, find someone who doesn’t know he’s dead, tell him to move on, he moves on, William gets paid and then goes home. It turns out to be much more complicated than that.

William is almost foolish in the beginning and doesn’t appear to be someone who can help the Glass family, let alone himself. He is on a slippery slope to self-destruction and then takes on the hardest haunting he has ever had; one that fights back. He’s also used to being the one who is in control. The fact that the demon knows William’s past and he does not takes the ball out of his court. He goes through an intense torture before he is finally able to become a hero and that’s only with the help of the supporting characters. Without them he would have failed.

I also wanted to answer an age old question, why do bad things happen? William went through a lot of bad things, but in the end that is what he needed to become a better person. Most horror stories just want to shock and unnerve you, and the characters are all pawns who can die at any time. William brings a character-driven arc to the storyline that makes this a little more than just a horror story.

Do you have another horror story in the works? Or are you currently working in a different genre?

I did leave this story open for a sequel. I was combining ideas that will bring most of the characters back together to solve an even larger haunted case involving multiple city blocks. I remember reading about a similar event about unexplained hauntings across several small nearby towns. The sequel will share this trait. “If you think one house was bad… try 100.” It looks cool in my head with an almost Hell erupting feel to it, but I have yet to put words on paper. Hopefully one day…

Author Links: GoodReads Twitter Facebook Website

The Glass DemonWilliam Corgel is a clairvoyant medium who is hubris, doubts his faith and a heavy drinker who finds comfort in pills. Believing there is nothing he can’t handle he soon finds himself in a home with a demonic presence and the possession of a teenage girl. The demon continually taunts and attacks him while claiming to know William’s suppressed childhood memory centered on his mother.

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Your Book Launch Timeline —What to Do When to Launch a Book That Sells

What’s your launch strategy?

95% of authors I ask this question to reply “I don’t have one” or say “I’ll post a link to my book on social media and hope for the best”.

Hope is not a strategy and won’t get your book on the bestseller lists.

But you know what will?

A carefully orchestrated book launch.

Here’s what you do:

Assumption: the entire execution time from idea to launch is 5 months.

5 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – POSITIONING

You start with the end in mind. What do you do when you want to launch a successful business? You look for a niche that you can dominate. You look for a blue ocean. It’s the same with books.

The majority of books fail because nobody sat with the author to help them them find a category which they can both fit in (so that librarians know how to categorize their book) and stand out (blue ocean).

Take my book How I Sold 80,000 Books. This is my big business card.

How does it fit in? It answers the question “How do I sell more books?”, just like its competing titles.

How does it stand out? It solves the question “How do I sell more books?” using the 4Ps marketing mix framework.

4,5 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – OUTLINE

Writers often label themselves as planners vs. pantsters. I’m a huge believer of planning.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

YOU know where you are going — you want to hook your readers, give them an unforgettable reading experience and get them to take action.

To be able to achieve that, you need an outline.

4 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – WRITE

NaNoWriMo gives you one month to write a 50,000-word manuscript. Thousands of writers manage to reach that goal.

If you don’t love to write but still want a book, you can speak it to your phone and then get a ghostwriter to shape it into book material.

3 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – DEVELOPMENTAL EDIT

Wow! You should now be holding a first draft of your professionally written manuscript in your hands. Congratulations!

Do you run and publish it? No, not just yet.

You need to know if there are any gaps or loose ends.

That’s what a developmental editor does.

If they find room for improvement, the manuscript goes back to the ghostwriter. If you get all green lights, you’re off to… no not quite to the races… you’re ready for copy-editing.

2,5 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – COPY-EDITING

This is the fun task of going through your manuscript as many times as necessary to make sure that every comma and period is in place.

This is a must. It shows respect for your reader and it should also completely eliminate any future negative reviews regarding writing style.

2 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – A STUNNING COVER

The first thing people will judge your book by is its cover. The cover consists of two main elements: the title and the artwork.

With the title of a non-fiction book you want to show people what results they will be able to achieve when they read your story.

A great example is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace. If anybody is in a financial struggle, even just holding the book entitled Financial Peace in their hands will bring a sense of peace to them.

Another great approach is a “How to” title. They’re oldies but goodies. They work. For example, when someone buys How I Sold 80,000 Books what they are really buying is that result.

Next is the artwork. Most of your readers won’t be looking at your book in real size. They will be looking at a thumbnail next to other similar book as they search Amazon.

That’s why your book needs to fit into the other books in its genre but also stand out as being unique.

The most important thing to remember is that the title needs to occupy at least one third of the cover. It needs to be clearly visible as a thumbnail. Then you want one big image.

I recommend you order two or three different covers and then let your target audience choose the one that works.

1,5 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – LAUNCH TEAM AND ENDORSEMENTS

  1. a) You should now have an ARC – an advanced review copy to build your launch team and get endorsements.

Create a landing page where people sign up and get a free review copy of your upcoming book as soon as they leave their email.

This allows you to build your email list and gives you the ability to mass mail all your team members during launch (crucial for the success of your launch).

Where do you get your launch team members? Anywhere your target audience hangs out. Reach out to Amazon reviewers who reviewed books similar to yours, write relevant articles on blogs (guest posts) and invite people to your launch team, appear on podcasts and tell listeners about your upcoming launch, reach out to existing connections.

Remember that about 30 percent of the people who join your launch team will actually leave a review, so if you want to launch with 50 reviews, you need more than 150 people who committed to do so.

You keep building the launch team until about a week before launch (where the time to read the book becomes too short).

  1. b) Simultaneously you want to reach out to people who could endorse your book so that you can add their quotes on your cover, inside the book and on your Amazon page.

Reach out to your connections, ask for introductions. It’s easiest to get an endorsement from someone you’ve already got an established relationship with but if you don’t it can be a good reason to start engaging with someone.

1 MONTH BEFORE LAUNCH – FUNNEL IN PLACE

Book royalties are great, but you will almost always generate more revenue on the back end than on the front end.

That’s why you need to have a link inside your book that will take your readers to your landing page so that they can subscribe and you can offer them your other books, products or services.

2 WEEKS BEFORE – OPTIMIZE FOR ONLINE SALES

Amazon looks like a bookstore but in reality it’s a search engine. That’s why your book needs to be optimized for online sales.

What this means is that you need to know what readers are looking for and make sure your book pops up at the top of search results when they are looking for answers your book provides.

That’s why I start with keyword research before I even come up with the titles. The full title and subtitle of How I Sold 80,000 Books is packed with keywords, which I found using dedicated software.

Another aspect is choosing the right category. We already touched upon it in positioning. By choosing the right categories you will be visible to those readers who want to read your book most.

You also need a captivating book description and an outstanding bio.

LAUNCH – IT’S SHOW TIME!

Your Amazon page looks stellar (great cover, title, description, bio, author pic, endorsements). Your book is optimized for online sales (keywords, categories) and it’s a book people will want to buy (and continue their relationship with you via your funnel that’s in place).

The #1 strategy here is successful communication with your launch team that you’ve been building up.

I recommend doing a free launch where you make your book free for a few days and urge your team members to download the book from Amazon (even if they already have the ARC) and leave a review which will be marked as “verified”.

Mail your launch members daily, giving them updates on the progress of the launch and sharing milestones, such as copies downloaded, number of reviews written or bestseller rank reached.

After the free days are over, set your book at $0.99 for a week or two and monitor sales. Increase your price every week or two (be consistent) by a dollar with all other factors unchanged and that will allow you to know (not guess) at which price point you make the most in royalties.

As soon as you’ve got your price point right, move to paid advertising (AMS ads, FB ads) and PR opportunities as well as partnerships to keep sales coming, build your list and increase your world domination!

LAUNCH DONE – NOW WHAT?

For more strategies on selling books by the truckload go to http://www.authorwisdom.com/ and download your free copy of my award-winning guide “How I Sold 80,000 Books” now.

 


By Alinka RutkowskaAlinka Rutkowska is a multi-award-winning and #1 international best-selling author.

She’s a coach who transforms struggling writers into profitable authorpreneurs.

She’s the founder and CEO of LibraryBub (http://librarybub.com/authors/), which connects librarians with award-winning and bestselling books from independent publishers.

She’s the founder and host of the 5-Figure Author Challenge (http://www.5figureauthorchallenge.com/ which gives authors winning strategies to get to 5 figures in 5 months.

She’s been featured on Fox Business Network, affiliates of ABC, NBC and CBS, Author Marketing Club, The Author Hangout, Kindlepreneur, Book Marketing Mentors, Examiner, She Knows, She Writes, The Writer’s Life and many more.

She’s a sought-after speaker. She’s been voted top 5 speaker and named most creative book marketer at the Bestseller Summit Online.

Download Alinka’s free award-winning guide “How I Sold 80,000 Books” at http://www.authorwisdom.com/

 

A Top of the Line Predator

Kwen Griffeth Author Interview

Kwen Griffeth Author Interview

Shadow of the Moon follows Special Agent Trakes and Detective Meeker who are sent to a shocking crime scene where a faceless man sparks the beginning of a thrilling investigation. What interested you the most about writing this novel?

This is, at its core, a werewolf story and we all know the werewolf can be extremely violent. I started the story with the vicious crime to establish that part of the werewolf character. A few years ago, I read a novel and I was really disappointed by how the werewolves were described. The story bothered me and I kept thinking, “I can write a better story than that.” Shadow of the Moon is the result of that process and I hope I accomplished what I set out to do. I wanted to tell a story that held true to the idea of the werewolf being a top of the line predator, but I also wanted the wolf to be caring for the family and have a deeper character than is usually portrayed.

This story provides a lot of really great lore and information about werewolves. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Thank heavens for the internet. I did several searches in an effort to build as complete a history for the animal as I could. I wanted the reader to have a little fun and wonder if they just might be out there.

The story takes place in New York. Why choose this place and time for the setting of the story?

Special Agent Trakes is a throwback to the “G-men” of the 30’s and 40’s. She cares nothing about political ramifications and only focuses on getting the “bad guy.” I wanted her to be placed in a situation where she was handicapped and had to develop other strengths. I also wanted the contrast between the city and the country, where the Lloyds live. I wanted Trakes, who is tough and sure of herself to be off-balance.

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

“Shadow” will be a trilogy at minimum and book two, “Reflection of the Moon,” is planned to be out early next spring.

Author Links: GoodReads Website | Twitter

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A Chronicle of Rebirth

J.M. Fletcher Author Interview

J.M. Fletcher Author Interview

A Chronicle of Rebirth: The Magus is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a romance, fantasy, and suspense as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

The Fantasy genre crossing with the romance genre was deliberate. I had always felt as though there could be more books with those two genres mixing. As for the suspense aspect, it was entirely organic. Originally, the project was started by me and then my husband and co-author James joined me. We had never thought of our writing as suspense, but we are happy that we achieved that with our story.

Nelina and the Magus are both interesting and well developed characters. What was your inspiration for their characters and their relationship?

The characters were developed slowly over the years. My Husband developed the character Ru’ark while playing Dungeons & Dragons and kept the character through his years of gaming. Nelina developed as a mix of several of the characters I have played over the years. Their relationship is in part a reflection of the relationship my Husband and I have together. We always love each other and have one another’s back. However, unfortunately neither of us have any magical smoke ability. One other correlation to Nelina and Ru’ark is how fast they fell in love. My husband and I met because I read his poetry online. After talking on the phone, he hopped on a Greyhound bus a few days later and travelled from Maine to Illinois to meet me. The moment he stepped off the bus, he swept me off my feet and kissed me before even saying hello. Well, last August 4th 2017 was our 11 year wedding anniversary, so 12 years in total we’ve been together.

What was the writing process like for the two of you working as a team? How do you toss around ideas and decide on what goes in the story?

Our story goes through a basic brainstorming process, which tends to involve Dunkin Donuts and coffee. At first, as we toss ideas back and forth sort of sketching out the outline for the book, then depending on what chapters call to one of us, that person will write the rough draft. From there we pass the it back and forth, adding things and removing parts until we are both happy with the finished product. The ideas that tend to stick are the ones that fit the story most. We have a simple credo that we write by- it’s all about the story. If either one of us feels that a part of the draft doesn’t serve the story as a whole, then it gets nixed.

This is book one in the series. Where does book two take readers and when will it be available?

In Book two, the readers will learn that Nelina’s promised powers at the end of book one are not quite what the Magus expected them to be. Also, they will be learning what is happening back in Danthamore with the Queen ruling her kingdom without the Magus exercising his influence. Plus, readers will find out what has become of Elian, Adar, and Claire. Malark and the Outlander will definitely be making an appearance in the second book as they journey out of the Waste. I’d love to be able to give a solid date to book two’s release, but I simply don’t have one to give other than in 2018. What I can say is that the book is worked on every single day, barring emergencies and natural disasters. So far, we are half way done with the 1st draft.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

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Powerful Force for Humanity

Hosein Kouros-Mehr Author Interview

Hosein Kouros-Mehr Author Interview

Project Bodi focuses on Google Health and the impact that artificial intelligence has on the future of work. What was your inspiration for this book and why was it important for you to write it?

One day I was driving to San Diego and I had an idea – what if mindfulness meditation can enhance creativity and innovation? Mindfulness is very popular right now with apps like Headspace, 10% Happier, etc. It occurred to me that mindfulness was a way to tap into the subconscious mind and solve the challenges in our lives. I decided to write this book on that drive to San Diego, and I used the same techniques for harnessing innovation to write the book itself, which is why I wrote the book in only 8 weeks. Mindfulness really does enhance innovation, and I have this book to prove it.

Beth and Austin are interesting and well developed characters. What was your inspiration for their relationship?

It’s based on my own experiences in the corporate world. In many companies, the younger, entry-level employees are often ignored and they fall into a void of obsolescence. But in fact companies do best when engage their young employees and set high expectations for them. So the relationship between Beth and Austin is something quite common in the work force in my opinion.

This book has some scary parallels with our current world? Is there anything that worries you about our current level of AI or do you have a positive outlook?

A.I. has the potential to be a bright, powerful force for humanity that can enhance our lives, but there’s no denying the dark potential as well. It will depend on the motivations of our leaders, as described at the end of the book.

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

It will happen when the idea comes to me. You can’t force innovation; just like Austin learned, you should let your subconscious mind bring the brilliant ideas to you. Just be patient and it will arrive on its own.

Author Links: GoodReads | FacebookWebsite

In 2029, Google is the most dominant company in the world. Dr. Bethany Andrews heads the company’s Artificial Intelligence Department and leads Project Bodi, the world’s most advanced Augmented Reality smartglasses that will one day revolutionize the tech space. Her lead programmer is Austin Sanders, a 26-year-old psychonaut who loves Burning Man and electronic dance music. Together they embark on a life-changing journey to design the product of the decade, and along the way they discover the mind’s inner source of insight and innovation.

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The Importance of Taking Risks

Thomas Duffy Author Interview

Thomas Duffy Author Interview

To Never Know depicts the story of Steven and how he is affected by his life choices and forces beyond his control. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

The story is loosely based on the time period I was in high school up until the time I reached my mid-twenties. I always wondered what life could have been like had I taken more risks when I was a teenager. I was in Florida at the time of 9/11 and right as it happened, I wondered if any of my friends or acquaintances had been affected. There was no Facebook back then so it was more difficult to keep in touch with old friends and classmates at that time. The idea became a story which I felt should be told regarding love, loss and the importance of taking risks in life. You never know when it will be too late to reach out to someone. Therefore it is so important to make good choices today and always follow your heart. As I wrote the novel, I explored the notion of reaching out to someone who lost a daughter in 9/11. I believe this storyline made the novel more powerful. I hope the reader will be moved.

Steven is an interesting and relateable character. What was the inspiration for the main character’s traits and dialogue?

This character is all me. He speaks like me and acts like me especially during the time period the book is set in. I have changed considerably in some respects but most of the dialogue and traits I carry with me to this day.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

The moral of the story is that we must move forward and learn from our mistakes. We will make mistakes but we can’t beat ourselves up over them. We must try to value the beauty of life and take pleasure in the little things. I have a fascination for the minor details of life. In the end of this story, lives have been transformed due to the events that took place during the course of the novel. I want people to come away with a feeling that anything is possible if you are just willing to take risks in life.

What is the next book that you are working on and when can your fans expect it to be out?

The next book is called The Separation and is a sci.fi. book. It was supposed to come out in late August but due to the passing of a friend, I couldn’t make the Booklife contest I wanted to enter so I delayed the release to late November. It will definitely come out then. Expect to be moved. It’s a very thought-provoking story.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

To Never KnowSteven Lewis is a young man with no concrete plans for his future after school. For a short time during high school, he wanted to ask a girl named Kelly out on a date but never had the courage to do so. As his life is taken in a different direction than he had hoped, he holds on to the thought of actually getting to know Kelly. Even after several years pass, he is determined to find her again. His quest to know her leads him to a tragic discovery. When he meets her mother, Emily, his life will never be the same. This is a story of love, loss and hope. It is an unforgettable personal journey about the quest for happiness after tragedy.

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She Had a Lot of Secrets

Janelle Dietrick Author Interview

Janelle Dietrick Author Interview

Mademoiselle Alice tells an intimate tale that takes readers on a personal journey through life and love. What was the inspiration that made you want to turn Alice’s life into a story?

I spent three years writing a history book called Alice & Eiffel, A New History of Early Cinema and the Love Story Kept Secret for a Century. As soon as I finished it, my girlfriends said: “We want a novel!” Alice wrote a memoir that is very cryptic, only 120 pages. I felt that she had a lot of secrets which she alluded to, particularly about her father, her experiences at the convent, and her relationship with Eiffel.

Why did you choose to write the novel in the first person?

When I started the novel, I spent several months writing Alice’s story in the third person, but it felt distant. I felt like I was flying over the rooftops, getting an occasional peek through a crack in the curtains. The novel didn’t start to come to life until I switched to first person and told it from Alice’s point of view.

Being basically kidnapped from her grandmother’s home at four and then being dropped off at the convent at six were the heartbreaks in her childhood that most captured my imagination and sympathy. Then of course when her father died when she was seventeen, that was the coup de grâce for her. In her memoirs she began with “My destiny was no doubt traced before my birth,” and I think she was referring to the early connections between her father and Eiffel since Eiffel really did go to Chile the year before she was born.

Alice Guy Blaché was a pioneer with so many accomplishments. What was the one thing that surprised you the most about Alice?

The biggest surprise was that although Eiffel was wildly successful and a very attractive person, Alice is more compelling. I think the story-telling gene that she developed was a result of her early experiences and not a function of ambition to make it in the movies which did not exist when she started.

The first film she wrote and directed, La Fée aux Choux, remains iconic in symbol and mystery. In one minute she tapped into the deepest themes of human experience: romantic love, sexual attraction, and family. We know it when an artist touches that chord, cuts to the core of something deep.

The temptation with a biography of a famous or accomplished person is to stack up their achievements in an intimidating tower. You can do the same thing with Eiffel. Would you like to read about all forty of the bridges he built culminating in his famous tower? That has been the outline of all the biographies about him. They don’t get close to the real person.

What kind of research did you have to do to maintain the historical accuracy of the book?

I look up all kinds of quirky things. It is not at all efficient, but you have to cast a very wide net. I read French and American newspapers from 1890s through the 1920s, and it is surprising what you run across, such as a column entitled “What makes a woman charming?” The old newspapers reflect how people thought back then. The phrase “gender roles” wasn’t coined until 1955. In Alice’s time, being a wife and mother were a woman’s duties, not roles she chose. The “old maids” were viewed as having missed the boat of life.

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

I am working on scripts for Mademoiselle Alice. I think it would make a good television series starting with the California Gold Rush. Many people came from France to California during that period and I believe Alice’s father was among them. Everyone wonders how Alice was able to do cowboy and western films. I think it was in her DNA.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Mademoiselle Alice: A Novel (The Life and Work of Alice Guy Blaché Book 1)A deeply evocative story inspired by real events: the love affair between two unforgettable people—Gustave Eiffel, the builder of the Eiffel Tower, and Alice Guy Blaché, a pioneer in the art of cinema. Mademoiselle Alice steps out of the shadows into the reader’s mind as an endlessly intriguing and entirely relatable young woman. Told through Alice’s eyes, we get to know her, her family, and Monsieur Eiffel. Eiffel is not looking to fall in love—he is a widower who has everything—wit, wealth, fame, and brilliance. He was a friend of Alice’s father who died when she was seventeen, and the story she tells of falling in love with him is funny and emotionally intimate. Alice and Eiffel forge an enduring romantic and intellectual bond. But while she wants to marry him, he refuses because he is so much older than she is. Out of her desire to have a family, she marries a handsome Englishman and travels to the United States, where she works with D. W. Griffith and then opens her own film studio. Some of her emotional experiences find expression in the scenarios she writes for film. Her relationship with Monsieur Eiffel continues on in her mind and leads to some surprising developments. Mademoiselle Alice tells us much about women’s lives during the silent film era in France and the United States. Combining a biographer’s knowledge of her subject with the novelist’s gift for narrative, Janelle Dietrick has crafted a novel that will capture the interest of every reader.

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Dead Air

Dead Air

Dead Air: A Glenn Beckert Mystery by Cliff Protzman is a thrilling mystery story. Glenn “Beck” Beckert runs the security for a radio station where his friend, Zito, from high school works. While this friend is working, he is shot in the head. Beck finds himself involved in the investigation and it turns out that the list of suspects is fairly complicated. Far more people had motive to murder his friend than he anticipated. The widow and the victim were both unfaithful, giving plenty of motive. He was also on the outs with the radio station stockholders that were looking to sell. Then Zito’s laptop uncovers a mystery all of it’s own.

Beck finds Irene, an old love, to help him unlock the mystery of Zito’s laptop. The laptop reveals even more than they both could have expected. Meanwhile, they start to realize there is still chemistry between them. Add in both mysterious and not so mysterious threats on Beck’s life, and you have the premise of this thrilling novel.

I felt like this novel did a fantastic job of utilizing a standard mystery format to deliver a thrilling and engaging story. A ‘whodunit’ novel that develops fascinating characters and puts them in some interesting situations.

I enjoyed the depth of each character, which is important in building suspense in a mystery novel. Cliff Protzman has fully realized characters with their own personal quandaries about right and wrong, which is refreshing. So many writers create characters that don’t adapt and flow through the story. It’s nice to see someone really put some thought and love into their character development.

What has really made this novel enjoyable is the way the mystery unfolds. It felt like the murder victim had many layers that Beck was slowly peeling off, one by one, only to find that the person at the core wasn’t who he appeared to be. In a way, many of the characters were that way. Each having their individual things they wanted the world to see, but as the story line and the investigation continued, we get to see the real person underneath the facade. Some of those people were nothing like what they wanted everyone else to believe they were.

Dead Air: A Glenn Beckert Mystery by Cliff Protzman is a well written dark murder mystery novel. The story was easy to follow with twists that I could follow. Get yourself ready for this novel; it was a fun read.

Pages: 321 | ASIN: B0765VNM1K

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Out of the Shadows

Out of the Shadows (Shadowlands #1)

I recently read Out of the Shadows by Ashlee Nicole Bye and was immediately hooked by the first chapter. The prologue to the book, which I admittedly skip over, caught my eye and sets the scene for what is a very interesting concept and well written novel. We meet Julian, who we learn is not from this world as he uses ‘humans’ and as you read on, you learn that he is way older than he appears to be. Although his age isn’t described until later, you know he’s old because his eyesight has been bestowed to him almost a century and a half ago. Clearly, he’s seen some things.

I really enjoyed this book. Maybe it’s because I’m Australian as well and we rarely get treated to books that are supernatural AND also mention state capitals that we know (such as Melbourne), but it was immediately easy to immerse myself into this world that Ashlee has so lovingly created. The characters, such as Sachi, are so well written that you can feel their pain, anguish and confusion as Sachi is thrown into a world she’s not entirely sure about. Sachi’s best friend was killed by the ‘Melbourne Slasher’, but it’s not until she ventures out after months of solitude that she sees things that were definitely not there before.

As the book goes on, Sachi and Julian’s worlds become intertwined as we learn that Julian and his friend Moss are a part of a secret society of reapers (which explains why he’s over a century and a half old) called the Order of Light and Dark, who are tasked with finding out what the Melbourne Slasher is and how they plan on stopping it.

This book also brings into play a very interesting idea that you can play with. The Order of the Light and Dark, and their jobs as reapers, means that they control who dies, when they are supposed to die and what manner they are supposed to die in. This ‘melbourne slasher’ is throwing everything out of balance and is throwing the reapers off schedule. It brings a concept forward that can make you feel at peace; your death has been scheduled and you are going to die when you are supposed to. For a control freak like myself, I really liked this concept.

I really ejoyed Sachi and her strong banter with the other characters within the book. I love that strong female leads are becoming the norm (thanks, Gone Girl!). I feel like without the banter and the wit of Sachi, this book would have been a bit difficult to read. She definitely made me laugh a fair bit.

Another thing I enjoyed were the chapter names. The first one had me snorting with ‘It’s too damn hot for a monster to just be walking around’. Ashlee really nails how Australians tend to describe things and this definitely comes forth in the chapter titles. They were descriptive and funny and accurate.

Pages: 338 | ASIN: B06W58K67L

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The Raid on Troy

The Raid on Troy (The Orfeo Saga Book 7)

The Raid on Troy, written by Murray Lee Eiland JR, is the seventh book in the Orfeo Saga. It follows two brothers, Memnon and Menas as they rise to power from the chains of slavery. Determined to taste the gold of Troy, the brothers assemble their lives so they are in a position of power to take the city. Telemon is drawn into the plans after a prophecy about the kidnapping of his daughter Elena is fulfilled. The battle lines are drawn as each player in the war game draws their sharpest weapons and assembles their greatest armies to fulfill their own dreams and desires.

This epic adventure begins with a slave boy Memnon attempting to escape the perils of slavery caused by an early capture from the Therans. Memnon’s previous family life is all but a distant memory and for now, all he knows is slavery and hierarchies of power. The brutality that he has experienced in his life has meant that kindness has seeped away from his soul, leaving a dangerous man with nothing left to lose. He is inherently a leader who fearlessly takes control of perilous situations. This allows him to develop a following of men who are eager to drop the chains of slavery too. Together they begin to rebuild their lives, raiding villages and meeting with bandits who help them acquire food and weapons.

Menas, Memnon’s brother, is also an escaped slave and eager to live a life beyond being a pawn of the Therans. Menas soon involves himself with the Spartans, where he becomes a “fixture in the local politics of Sparta”. The two brothers rise to power in an epic tale of action, revenge, lust, and influence. You will admire their ability to rise to power and success as they take what they believe is rightfully theirs, having no mercy for those who dare to cross them.

The Raid on Troy has several storylines that are interweaving together as you progress through the novel. We have Orfeo who enters the plot line as an admirable and successful leader who has a beautiful wife Clarice, Telemon and Estra with their daughter Elena and the brothers Menas and Memnon who all take the leading roles in this twist of Greek mythology. There are similar aspects to the traditional mythology story, however, Murray Lee Eiland JR curates this version to be an almost historical version of events, leaving the reader to feel connected to the characters and the plot line.

Murray Lee Eiland JR writes with a legendary force that will have the reader engaged from start to finish. The chapters are short and fast-paced, allowing the plot line to develop quickly whilst covering vast amounts of time. However, there is still an incredible transformation in the character development as you watch the characters grow in both power and ambition. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys an epic battle mixed with the rise of power and fortune.

Pages: 300 | ASIN: B06ZYK6M2Z

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