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The Red Haired Giants of Lovelock Cave & Other Ancient Mysteries

Nevada’s Paiutes spoke of a race of statuesque red-headed cannibals who attacked and ate members of the surrounding tribes. Eventually, the Paiutes destroyed them in Lovelock Cave. In 1911, miners discovered the remains of giant red-headed mummies and thousands of artifacts. The artifacts were excavated and disbursed to several museums, but the mummies disappeared from public view. What happened to the giant mummies, and why were they hidden from the public? Floyd Wills’s investigation into Lovelock Cave’s mystery reveals compelling evidence that the red-haired giants’ Paiute tales were true. Mr. Wills supports his belief with newspaper articles, Native American accounts of giants, eyewitness testimony, photographs of skeletal remains, and artifacts found in and around Lovelock Cave. Other strange historical topics covered include: the Nazca Mummies, the Flores Hobbits of Indonesia, the Biblical Giants or The Nephilim, the Elongated Skull People of Paracas Peru, the Ica Stones, and the Acambaro Dinosaur Figurines.

The Erebus Tales Series

Norman Westhoff Author Interview

Gifts of a Dark God follow a group of friends trying to stop the colonization of Antarctica while running into some dangerous hurdles. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

See the first two books in the Erebus Tales series, Stone Fever and The Color of Greed, for more background on how a climate-changed Antarctica becomes the focal point of this story.

Which character in the novel do you feel you relate to more and why?

Every major character has a bit of me in it: Keltyn the loner nerd geologist, Joaquin the gimpy but plucky gaucho-wannabee, Luz the impetuous organizer, Fay the defender of the downtrodden, even Helmut Ganz the corporate toady, hiding a fatal character flaw.

What was your favorite scene in this story?

The horse-breeding scene in Chapter 13, though I owe a word of thanks in the conception of that scene to a similar one in Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full.

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

No further fiction planned at this time. Readers are referred to the first two books in this series, previously published by Iguana Books.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Rogue geologist Keltyn Sparrowhawk continues her search for the strategic metal iridium in 24th-century Antarctica. In a Canadian jail, charged with murdering her former mentor, she bargains her way out at a dear cost, starting an epic journey via China, then back to the Erebus volcano and her friends Joaquin Beltran and Luz Hogarth. These teens have since forged their own careers, fused from the melting pot of the annual Rendezvous.
Meanwhile, activist Fay Del Campo, sprung from detention, vows to fight Sir Oscar Bailey’s domination of world commerce, even if it means joining forces with a shadowy group of saboteurs. Bailey’s storm trooper Helmut Ganz plots to stop her. Only one of them will survive, and Erebus, the dark mountain god, will have the final say.

Gifts of a Dark God

Keltyn and her friends’ fight for justice continues in Gifts of a Dark God by Norman Westhoff. Fay is released from jail due to the current lack of evidence, while Keltyn is scraping together legal funding by doing an interview with the sensationalist reporter, Bertram Casey. The excellent news is that insider information leads Fay to know about some critical holes in Oscar Bailey’s plan to colonize Antarctica, which could buy them some time to stop it. Will they finally be able to prevent history from repeating itself? You’ll have to read Gifts of a Dark God by Norman Westhoff to find out!

Westhoff’s writing is an intricate weaving of real-world issues into a fictional work. The author hits the ground running with Keltyn’s interview, which offers us a remarkable introspective on journalism’s corruption and artificial molding. As readers watch the interviewer try to shape the narrative around Keltyn’s story, you can see the infamous real-life interviews where the same thing has happened. And this is only one of the many instances of art imitating life so precisely in Gifts of a Dark God. The interview scene further proves Westhoff’s ability to provoke critical thought. He simply lays out the facts of a modern and past life with simplistic but gripping writing.

Another talent of Westoff’s is his character building. Throughout every book in the series, there is a strong sense of realness to the characters. The passion behind each action of the characters allows readers to sense their rage, sadness, and triumph in full force. In addition, every reader will feel the intensity of wanting to dismantle the power of the fiction villain and their real-life equivalents.

This suspenseful novel is a work of gripping perfection. Westhoff did not skip a beat when it came to all the critical points of building a story. He gives readers a compelling plot, fully-fledged main and side characters, concise writing.

Gifts of a Dark God is a riveting addition to the Erebus Tales series. This action-packed, suspenseful novel will appeal to lovers of fiction, adventure, and even science fiction.

Pages: 458 | ASIN : B09NF2D28T

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Erebus Tales

Norman Westhoff
Norman Westhoff Author Interview

Stone Fever follows a geologist exploring a defrosted Antarctica when she makes new friends and sets off to find the elusive iris stone. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?

Geography, especially maps, has always been a hobby of mine. I pictured how the effects of continuing climate change might affect human populations, forcing migration toward the poles. These two groups could lose touch with each other and evolve separately.

Keltyn is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

She is a rock nerd with few social skills. She has swallowed her pride for the sake of professional advancement, yet harbors a grudge about how her people, and especially her father, have been treated by white society. When she learns that her boss may want to promote Antarctica for settlement by canadian farmers, she instinctively pictures how this will threaten the locals and hatches an ill-conceived plan to thwart her boss.

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

First contact between different cultures; resilience in personal development; the importance of mentors; intergenerational wisdom/memory.

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

Stone Fever is the first book of the Erebus Tales series. The second book, The Color of Greed, will be out in spring 2021, and the finale, Gifts of a Dark God, next fall.

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Radical climate change has reshaped human geography by the 24th century. Canadian geologist Keltyn SparrowHawk flies to Antarctica, searching for the strategic mineral iridium. After her plane crash-lands, she and her crew are discovered by two teens from a local tribe of nomads: orphan would-be gaucho Joaquin Beltran and horsewoman Luz Hogarth, who also seeks the elusive iris stone. Keltyn befriends them both, but now she must reckon with the volcano where the stone lies, the tribe’s hostile leaders, the hidden agenda of her sponsor back home, and rattling skeletons in her closet. Soon she plunges into an ill-conceived gamble that spirals into free-fall. Her two new friends are the only ones who can help, but each must first survive their own ordeals.

Decades to Resolve

K.B. Laugheed Author Interview

K.B. Laugheed Author Interview

The Gift of the Seer follows Katie and Hectors journey across the continent as they learn more about each others ways. What was the inspiration for the setup to this series?

I had a fairly bad childhood, but when I was seventeen, I became captivated by Native American history, and I have never looked back. I have spent my life studying Indian history, cultures, and stories, and I even went on to get a Masters Degree in English with a specialty in Native American literature. After having read dozens and dozens of captivity stories from the 17th, 18th, & 19th centuries, I wanted to write a book to share what I learned with people who have neither the time nor energy to dig through all those old documents.

Katie and Hector are dynamic characters with an interesting relationship. What were some driving ideals behind their characters?

I see Katie and Hector as metaphorical representatives of their people. They are endlessly intrigued by one another, even as they also pose a very serious threat to each other. Because they formed a physical bond before they understood much about each other’s worlds, they created a conflict that takes them decades to resolve–which is, oddly enough, equally true of almost all young lovers who get married and have children! So one of the basic premises of the story is that relationships are hard, whether those relationships are between individuals or nations, and finding common ground is an ongoing challenge. But, oh!–meeting that challenge is definitely worth the effort!

I enjoyed the nuanced world views and philosophies in the book. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?

I was very intrigued by the idea of writing a story that could be read on multiple levels. If you are interested in American Indians, you can read this book to learn more about Native cultures. If you are interested in complex marital relationships, you can read this book to find out how one “odd couple” made a difficult marriage work. If you are interested in personal identity issues, you can read this book to see how someone who suffers from chronic self-doubt deals with the challenge of living up to other people’s high expectations. If you are interested in Spirituality, you can read this book to ponder the role Spirit can play in the everyday life of humans. And if you just want a fast-paced adventure story, you can read this book simply for the thrills and chills.

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

I was working on an intriguing manuscript three years ago, but I gave it up when I could not see how the story ended. Then my mother died, and I suddenly understood exactly how that story ended. Now that I have finally gotten The Gift of the Seer into the hands of the public, I am returning to my unfinished manuscript, and I hope to have something readable by mid-2020.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

The Gift of the Seer by [Laugheed, K.B.]

Katie O’Toole’s epic adventure began in The Spirit Keeper (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre in Pennsylvania only to find herself chosen as the “Spirit Keeper” of a dying Indian Seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer’s bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband’s people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision—a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world—but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no Gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the lives of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That’s when she knows she must give a Gift—she must—before it is too late.

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The Gift of the Seer

The Gift of the Seer by [Laugheed, K.B.]When you tire of the overload of digital and technology tools within our 2019 era, K.B. Laugheed’s The Gift of the Seer will expedite time travel back with you, and this author will have you writing with a feathered quill by the end of this literary journey! Put on your cultural anthropologist boots and allow this novel to cleverly weave historical yet fantastical plot elements, interestingly complex characters, and a rugged setting that will definitely transport and immerse readers. You will face cultural nuances, norms, spiritual beliefs, worldviews, philosophies, goals, life lessons, conflicts, natural connections, romances, and myriads of adventures via an Indian perspective. Our protagonist, Katie, provides uncensored reflections and stories spanning from the years 1748-1778. Yet Katie, the book’s protagonist, is not the docile, silent, subjugated, stereotypical, domesticated wife and mother that many heroines from her time era typically portray. Instead, she is a literary and cultural badass-think Katniss from The Hunger Games -but Katie encompasses more maturity, carnal pleasures, and complexities as a woman struggling to survive among different cultures, determined to sustain her love for her husband against all odds, and abandoning the feelings of guilt and condemnation based on her feeling that she’s living a big lie!

In short, adventures, dangers, thrills, and chills will bombard you on every page. Yet instead of feeling defeated and exhausted, you will experience the triumphs and evolution, right alongside Katie, as if you were a passenger in her canoe! The book is brilliant in terms of its vivid, sensory details that paint a no-nonsense picture of life during this era. The characters also conjure feelings of fables and folk tales via the author’s unique, authentic style. At times, I noticed hints of magical realism, which further add pizazz to this riveting book. While there are so many positive qualities about this book, especially the way in which the author develops her vast array of characters and executes her dramatic dialogue, all with cultural relevance and sensitivity, I was a bit overwhelmed with the plethora of social, historical, political, cultural, marital problems and themes that she tries to address all at once. At times it was slightly too ambitious for me to keep track of all the family members, neighbors, friends, and foes. Although they are important, especially to comprehend the larger scope of the historical fiction milieu, some of the symbols were slightly perplexing and some plot events were mentioned but not fully explained.

All in all, because readers can sense the imminent danger on every page, as evident from the great use of foreshadowing and cautionary notes to build suspense throughout the text, as in “til the ocean wave of Colonists comes crashing down upon us—then we will see which of us is right,” We not only learn cultural and historical information through characters with real vulnerability and authenticity, but we also find solace in our own journeys about how to fit into this world and all its challenges! We obtain a true sense of empowerment within this challenging piece of art. Try this time travelling and cultural anthropological plight by K.B. Laugheed in The Gift of the Seer!

Pages: 308 | ASIN: B07L7FHTFC

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Beloved Mother

Beloved Mother

Beloved Mother by Laura Hunter is a saga that follows the lives of several members of the Parsons, a poor coal-mining family. The story begins in Covington, Virginia in 1923 when thirteen-year-old Mona Parsons is taken away to Carolina by Jackson Slocomb. He abuses her, and she’s rescued by a Native American man named Walks in Tall Corn. He takes her in and raises her son, Briar, as his own. Ten years later, Tall Corn is injured in a farming accident and his wound becomes infected. He dies and Mona (River of Two Tears) returns to Covington, but her father doesn’t welcome her. She and her son end up in a coal mining town, Breakline Mining Camp. Mona’s younger sister, Anna, runs away with Clint, and they end up in in the coal mining town, too. But although Two Tears and Anna interact and live in close proximity to each other for many years, they never realized that the other is their sister. Told from a number of different points of view, this book spans generations and decades, even going back in time to earlier generations.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style, and her vivid descriptions drew me into the story. I liked the bits of history that the author added throughout the book. The story touched on a number of different time periods, from the great depression and World War II to the mid 1800’s.

I enjoyed the Native American aspect of the book–the Great Spirit, Sister Sun and Brother Moon, and the Cherokee medicine woman (called a Beloved Mother). It added an interesting element to the story that I would have loved to read more of. The characters lives were hard, as they struggled to scrape by, but I felt that most were selfish, thinking of their own wants and needs, in desires to get ahead. There is a lot of colorful, and questionable relationships, from adulterous affairs to a twenty-six-year-old man married to a thirteen-year-old girl, and an older man with romantic feelings for his young half-sister–though he was unaware of their connection. This made it hard for me to relate to, although I certainly appreciated, the characters.

Overall, this is an emotional story that pulls at your heart. I would have enjoyed a more uplifting theme, if not a few moments. There were a number of deaths, and very few characters were still alive by the end of the story, but I suppose… such is life.

ISBN: 9781949711097

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History Is Not Always Pretty

Ed Protzel Author Interview

Ed Protzel Author Interview

Honor Among Outcasts continues the story of the Dark Horse inhabitants that joined the Union Army as soldiers in the Missouri State Militia Calvary. What direction did you want to take this book that was different from book one in the series?

In the first novel of my DarkHorse Trilogy, The Lies That Bind set in the antebellum South, I wanted to debunk many stereotypes and myths about blacks, whites, rich and poor, regarding slavery and gender. Southern literature is generally about powerful aristocrats who make fortunes, and often ignores the slaves who actually did the work or gives them little credit. So I created a situation where the protagonist, Durksen Hurst, a hustler/drifter, forms a secret partnership with a group of escaped slaves to build their own egalitarian plantation in the fictional hamlet of Turkle, Mississippi. But, rather than the white man, one of the slaves, Big Josh Tyler, who had run his former master’s plantation, is the natural leader of the group and is greatly responsible for their enterprise’s success. (Such was often the case, historically.)

Developing the novel into a trilogy allowed me to show the full historical arc and the resultant changes of the time period: from antebellum South/slave society (The Lies That Bind, book 1); to the Civil War years (Honor Among Outcasts, book 2); and end in post-war Reconstruction (Something in Madness, book 3). You see the arc.

Together, the three novels depict the historical developments and their effects on the men and women, black and white, of all social stations.

So to answer your question, in book 2, Honor Among Outcasts, the milieu, conflicts, plot, and themes all had to be completely different from book 1, as will those in the third.

I felt like you did a great job with the historical details and facts. What were some things that you felt had to be accurate and what were some things you took liberties with?

Although I am a big Civil War buff, I didn’t want to write a typical battle-type novel. Fortunately, the guerrilla war in western Missouri was like modern-day Syria, with terrible murders and depredations like the massacre and burning of Lawrence, Kansas, by Quantrill’s Confederate bushwhackers. In Missouri, combatants of both sides took scalps! I felt it important for the characters to face these major events in order to illuminate humanity’s potential for brutality and cruelty.

Also, in the spring of 1863, President Lincoln began to allow “colored” regiments to be formed, but these required a white officer to lead them. Naturally, having the DarkHorse partners form their own regiment was a nice parallel to their dreams of the democratic enterprise depicted in The Lies That Bind.

Throughout Honor Among Outcasts, I tried to remain faithful to the difficulties and unique dangers these regiments and the local populace actually faced. In rare cases, I had to move minor events around to aid the narrative. For example, a train raid massacre like the one in Honor did take place, but at a later date and at a different location. Nevertheless, in writing book 2, the actual history did very much shape the story.

The characters were very well developed in this story, which led to some heartbreaking scenes when some characters met their end. What was your decision process like in deciding who stays and who goes?

Heightened emotions give your themes greater impact. I hated to kill off some of the characters I’d become attached to, but in doing so, the reader is able to feel the senseless terror and cruelty of the time, which required more than the characters merely observing the conflict.

For example, wise Big Josh is the backbone of the DarkHorse partnership, despite the many loses in his past that he carries in his heart. So when his mate, Ceeba, found late in life, is one of the three women killed in the train massacre, the poignancy of the event is increased. Plus, Josh’s emotional state throughout the rest of the novel is deepened. Similarly, in the Lawrence massacre a relatively unarmed colored regiment training there actually was massacred. How could I ignore that in my novel? And with the loss of a favorite DarkHorse character during the Lawrence raid, I hoped to bring out the horror of that event. (I, myself, had to recover after writing that wrenching scene.)

Where will book three in the Dark Horse Trilogy take readers and when will it be available?

In the final novel, Something in Madness, at war’s end the surviving characters return to Mississippi, only to confront new indignities restricting the rights of freedmen in the South.

Researching the Black Codes, lynchings, and other humiliations perpetrated on blacks during Reconstruction made writing book 3 tough, and I expect it will be tough on the reader, as well.

History is not always pretty. I only hope the DarkHorse Trilogy does its part to see that such cruelty and hatred doesn’t re-occur. Something in Madness is planned for release in 2019.

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Honor Among Outcasts (DarkHorse Trilogy Book 2) by [Protzel, Ed]After their harrowing escape from Mississippi, abolitionist Durksen Hurst, his fiancée Antoinette DuVallier, and their friends — a group of undocumented slaves — land in guerrilla-infested Civil War Missouri, the most savage whirlwind of destruction, cruelty, and death in American history. Trapped in a terrifying cycle of murder and revenge, scarred by Quantrill’s cold-blooded Lawrence massacre and the Union army’s ruthless Order Eleven, Durk and everyone he cares for soon find themselves entangled in a struggle for their very survival.

Honor Among Outcasts takes readers on a pulse-pounding journey of desperate men and women caught up in the merciless forces of hatred and fear that tear worlds apart, and the healing power of friendship to bring them together.

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