Spectre is the thrilling conclusion to your Kirk Ingram saga. Do you feel like you accomplished everything you wanted to with this series?
I know I said ‘thrilling conclusion’ in the synopsis that appears on the back of the book, but I wonder if we’ve seen the last of Kirk Ingram. That said, I feel extremely satisfied with what I’ve accomplished with Spectre, and how it augments the previous two books in the series. For example, in book #1, Haunted, I gave Ingram frequent nightmares, which is stereotypical of a protagonist with a troubled past. But then in Spectre, I used that element and exploded it into an entire book by positing the question: What if Ingram’s nightmares aren’t what they seem? The Kirk Ingram stories stand alone, but readers will appreciate the elements in Spectre that tie them into a trilogy.
How do you think the story, and your writing, has changed throughout the series?
A good aspect of self-publishing platforms is the hassle-free option to update previous books. I have the advantage that my reader base isn’t (yet) in the thousands and millions, so why not make an improvement? When book #2 – Diablo – released, I reviewed Haunted and spruced up the tone of the book, even thrashing sections I saw no point in this time around. I’ve certainly matured as an author. One simple way to see that is the ratings on Goodreads have improved with each book. My plots have always been complex and I’m finding new ways to keep that complexity interesting to the readers. Another constant in my writing nowadays is I always want to educate my readers. Even if my stories are fiction, I set them against the backdrop of contemporary events and locations, so that my readers learn something besides the entertainment value.
This book is exceptionally well written and wastes no time getting to the action. What were some goals you set for yourself in this book?
Thank you for the compliment. Key locales for the book were inspired by a vacation in Italy. I wanted to feature the imposing Christian and Roman edifices. Next, I wanted Ingram to have closure. In Haunted he lost his family; I wanted him to get over his guilt, to live his life to the fullest. I’ve always been interested in history, and Spectre gave me the opportunity to tell a story that converges from two different timelines. And finally, I wanted to write a paranormal story, but one that stands apart from the usual. And I believe, I’ve done that.
What is the next project you’re working on and when will it be available?
Next up, is book #3 in the Luc Fortesque series, Trigger Point. It will be available fall 2020.
More than 2000 years ago, the deeds and words of a Jewish carpenter seeded an ideology that inexorably spread across the known world. Who was he, really? Conspiracies, doubts, faith abound.
300 years later, Constantine marched victoriously into Rome. In a move befitting a shrewd politician, Emperor Constantine sought to legalise the radical religion proclaimed by the hitherto persecuted Christian sect with the ulterior motive of crowning himself godhead of a united empire.
But what if there existed others, who possessed the same powers as the Christ, and threatened the emperor’s new religion, and upset his ambitions?
June 2017: A remote abbey in the Italian Alps is attacked by an ethereal force. Every one of the abbey’s gifted residents is murdered, save for its newest resident, Jovanni Rossi.
A passenger jetliner makes an emergency landing at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport with seven casualties aboard. The perpetrator: former FBI agent, Kirk Ingram.
Seeking answers, Jovanni Rossi and Kirk Ingram must team up and face an incredible reality-altering truth.
Pursued by a vengeful father, a relentless contract killer and a sadistic gangster, the pair find themselves embroiled in a grander conflict between good and evil…
And they are the only people who stand against a dark force arising out of medieval times to consume the Earth!
Mandy Norton loves her dolls. Every day, she likes to play with them in her yard. She names them and serves them tea. Mandy is in her own world–and she is being watched. From just beyond the bushes and out of her line of sight, she is being studied, and her every move is being noted. A man she cannot see is planning to take her from her yard and away from her family. He will use one of her favorite things to bring his plan to fruition–a doll. After carefully selecting a doll that matches her taste, he makes his move, and Mandy’s life and the lives of her family will never be the same.
Not Dead, by Anita Dickason, is the harrowing tale of the abduction of young Mandy Norton and the efforts made to bring her home. Mandy’s aunt, Ashely Logan, becomes involved from the moment she hears that her niece is missing. Ashley, also the editor of the local newspaper, deems herself an investigator and questions the local police department’s ability to handle her niece’s case. As the hours quickly begin to pass, Ashley forges her own path through the town from one suspect to another.
Dickason has managed to provide readers with a tale of horror–every parent’s nightmare. As the story progresses, readers are given more insight into the frustrating and heartbreaking process of trusting law enforcement to bring their daughter home safely. The introduction of Ashley, Mandy’s aunt, is more than helpful in driving home exactly how difficult the process of searching for a suspect can actually be. Ashley is the reader’s guide into the investigation process.
The insight the author gives into the mind of little Mandy’s abductor is chilling. I can’t accurately describe the terror I felt as I read how Mandy’s abductor targeted her and methodically planned her kidnapping. What was even more terrifying was the background information readers are given at the outset–this man is a repeat offender and has honed these skills over time.
Not Dead, though fiction, provides a thorough look into police procedures and the rigorous work that takes place when a child has disappeared. The bulk of Dickason’s work in this book is focused on the investigation itself and Ashley’s part in that process. As a reader, I would have liked to have seen more of the experience from Mandy’s point of view. From one chapter to the next, readers watch the clues multiply, the suspects narrow, and the case grow closer to a conclusion, but we aren’t as privy to the life to which Mandy is subjected while she waits to be rescued.
Readers who seek a mystery with rich characters and prefer frighteningly realistic plots will be more than satisfied with Dickason’s work. Dickason’s characters are highly-developed and memorable. The twist ending is an added bonus to Dickason’s meticulously crafted mystery. I highly recommend Not Dead to any mystery fan looking for a new author to follow.
Pages: 238 | ASIN: B07ZMHYMDB
The Underground follows a wolf pack alpha male in an alternate Seattle who seeks the downfall of his overlord. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
The Underground was inspired by a single question I asked myself while in a half-fainted state on an uptown city bus with no air conditioning on one oppressively hot and humid afternoon: What would it take for a werewolf to survive in today’s world?
It gave me a lot to think about. Assuming humans are just as hostile to paranormals as they are in the literature, our werewolf’s primary concern would be keeping his true nature secret. Still, he can’t just wall himself away from humans—he needs a job, a place to live, and what have you. Would he have friends, knowing that everyone who crosses your path is a potential enemy? What lies would he have to tell to keep humans from finding out what he is? When the change comes, what does he do? He can’t go hunting humans in the city—that would be suicide. So…what? Those questions are just the tip of the iceberg, as they say.
Parker and Kurt were both well developed and interesting characters. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I really don’t have a favorite between the two. I love all my children equally! What was most interesting about writing the two is how they developed into such different characters. Yes, Parker’s from a rural-esqe part of the southern U.S. and Kurt’s a German aristocrat but it’s not just that. For example, their speech patterns are so different, aside from Parker being a potty-mouth! There’s a formality to Kurt’s speech that’s absent from Parker’s and everyone else. It’s almost as if I don’t have to use dialogue tags or other indicators as to who’s speaking. You can tell when Kurt’s speaking just from his language.
I loved the idea of exotics and the whole world of paranormal creatures you’ve built. What were some themes you wanted to explore in your world?
While mentally building the world for The Underground, I realized that world is our own. Human bigotry against paranormals abounds. Paranormals are hunted by humans and marked for execution. That’s no different than anyone who’s persecuted because of skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or identity, or any other difference the majority perceives as dangerous and undesirable. That leads to the question of what would happen if the downtrodden decide they’re not going to take their lot anymore? History tells us the answer. Oppress a people long and hard enough, they will rise up. And the results won’t be pretty. There’s so much more to these themes, too. I’ve even written an essay about it.
Are you still working on the Sequel to the The Moreva of Astoreth? How is that coming along?
Yes, The Moreva of Astoreth’s sequel, When Gods Die, is still in the works. Since Moreva was released, I’ve been assaulted by major real-life issues that necessitated putting Gods on the back-burner. Moreva is getting a major overhaul—new cover and a deep edit—and once that’s finished, I can go back to Gods. Of course, I can’t say for certain when it’ll be finished. Deadlines and me really don’t mix. But the plan is to have Gods published by the end of summer 2020. One reason for taking so long is I have to write a novella, The Final Victim, which I’ve promised to people who sign up for my newsletter. Victim is set in The Underground’s world and bears a strong relation to it but it’s not a part of The Underground’s story. Call it a companion book.
In an alternate Seattle, communities of “exotics”—shapeshifters, witches, elves and vampires—live among the murderous human population and are ruled over by the cruel vampire Master, Kurt. The powerful alpha male of the werewolf pack, Parker Berenson, is one of the Master’s enslaved servants and he would like nothing more than to hasten the downfall of the vampire overlord who stole his love, the beautiful mage Garrett Larkin. But in a night city already on the razor’s edge—in the midst of a spate of bloody murders—Parker’s passionate encounter with a stunning interstellar assassin could upset the very delicate balance and ignite a war neither exotics nor humans can survive.
A small-town Texas cop who is haunted by his past.
A reporter who risks it all, even her life.
A kidnapping that crosses into an unearthly realm.
Focused on the abduction of four-year-old Mandy Norton, Chad Bishop, Meridian’s Police Chief, ignores the twinges of foreboding triggered by an eerie fog that shrouds his town. What he can’t ignore is the editor of the Tribune.
When Ashley Logan becomes embroiled in the search, nothing stops the hard-hitting, investigative reporter, including Chad’s threats to throw her in jail. She’s Mandy’s aunt.
As the mystery of Mandy’s disappearance deepens, unnerving details emerge. Chad refuses to believe they’re connected to his past until the case turns deadly. He’s forced to face the terror that haunts him. It’s waiting in the shadowy depths of the unearthly fog.
This time, it could cost Chad more than his sanity.
Ullr’s Fangs is a dark fantasy following the experiences of Lluava as she faces some massive responsibilities. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
The initial inspiration for Ullr’s Fangs, as well as the two succeeding other books in the series, stems from the backstory of Lluava’s family. Her true origin if you will. As a writer, I need to know not only the personality and characteristics of the main characters but also the secondary characters as well. I challenged myself to understand Lluava’s father who had died before the first book begins. In understanding his story, I discovered where Lluava’s would lead.
Ullr’s Fangs is full of characters that are trying to serve their own interests by manipulating governing officials or pursuing ancient prophecies. My protagonist, Lluava Kargen, must discover whom to trust while struggling to forge her own path against formidable enemies and daunting situations.
Another important concept involves the Berserker. I love ancient Nordic myth and history. In reading and researching countless sagas and historical novels, I was drawn to the mighty and almost supernatural warrior known as the Berserker. This was the inspiration for a new threat to the Kingdom of Elysia that is introduced in this second novel of The Incarn Saga.
I was impressed with the way in which you dealt with the mental decline of King Thor. What were the ideas you wanted to explore with his character?
I grew up with a grandfather who dealt with Alzheimer’s. Though my earliest memories were positive, the majority of my dealings with him were watching a man, who was the patriarchal figure of my mother’s family, slowly deteriorate and lose most of himself to that disease. Thor was, in part, inspired by those experiences and the heartbreaking moments when old memories blended with the present or were irretrievably lost. I hope readers will relate to the bond his grandson shares with Thor as well as the desire to protect this man who is not only his grandfather but also his king.
The second reason for developing Thor in this manner involves plot. As Thor’s dementia increases, he becomes a puppet king easily manipulated by other members of the government who crave control. A power struggle ensues between the heir to the throne and those that have determined policy, made laws, and insured their own interests for years. I also wanted to express that even at the highest levels of power, corruption exists.
The Theriomorphs are exceptionally intriguing. Where did this idea come from and how did it develop while writing?
I have always had a passion for both animals and myth. Growing up, I read anything I could about either topic. Yet it was not until I had a dream where shape-shifting people were training in a military camp that Theriomorphs were essentially born. After that night, I explored shape-shifter and skinwalker stories.
Merriam-Webster’s definition of theriomorphic means “having animal form”. I used that terminology when I started developing my own race of animal shapeshifters. I wanted both human and animal forms to have shared characteristics and personality traits. For example, the main character, Lluava, has platinum blonde hair, jet black eyebrows and olive-hued skin. She has an athletic form and a personality that is fierce, assertive, and sometimes hotheaded. Her animal form, which is referred to as a dual form, is a white tigress.
Theriomorphs cannot choose their animal form; it is something they are born with and it is linked to hormones. For this reason, most males (testosterone) have larger and more volatile dual forms like tigers, bears, and stags. Females (estrogen) typically have smaller and meeker forms like house cats, ducks, and backyard birds. Lluava’s dual form of a white tigress emphasizes the fact that she is atypical even among her own race.
As a society, I wanted the Theriomorph race to encompass the idea of a native culture that has been conquered and forced to incorporate the social traits of those who have taken over their lands. Like many native tribes, their religion is based on a complex system of polytheistic beliefs, one that is very much in tune with nature. In Ullr’s Fangs, it was fun to slowly reveal more details of the original Theriomorph society and their beliefs so that readers could continue to immerse themselves in the kingdom of Elysia.
This is book two in the The Incarn Saga. Where does book three, Crocotta’s Hackles, take the story?
Each book in The Incarn Saga reveals more of the darker realities of the Theriomorph world. It is not until the end of Ullr’s Fangs that the reader begins to learn what the Incarn are. In the third book, Crocotta’s Hackles, Lluava’s personal mission is to discover the truth about the Incarn and what that means for her own future. I also delve into what the original Theriomorph culture was like before humans reached the shores of Elysia.
Crocotta’s Hackles is full of sudden twists and new realizations that will distinctly alter what both Lluava and the readers believe. I truly hope fans of the first two books will fall in love with the third as much as I did when writing it.
“According to legend, when the world was young, two gods of war — one male, one female — were destined for each other. Yet Ullr, forever unfaithful, lost the love of Issaura, his true match, and was forsworn. His violent anger and bitter rage grew and intensified, poisoning all creation and humanity.
Now that the Raiders’ long ships have faded from sight, the kingdom of Elysia is beginning to recover from the summer’s war with the brutal invaders from across the sea. Yet darker forces have taken root, forces that can alter the future of the land and its people in unthinkable ways. Seventeen-year-old Lluava must discover the means to prevent her world from collapsing. But in doing so, will she succumb to that darkness?”
Eva is isolated, and that is by her own choosing. She is the sole survivor of a lineage of werewolves. Avoiding others like herself and steering clear of humans, she has managed to keep away from everything posing a threat to her very being. Eva is strong and a force to be reckoned with. Deegan has met his match in Eva. A werewolf himself, he is not part of one of the most desirable clans. When forces beyond his control begin to rule him, he finds himself on the verge of giving in and giving up. Whether either of them realize it or not, Eva just might be the answer he didn’t know he was looking for.
The Fate of Wolves, by Tarrant Smith, is the second in The Legends of the Pale series. From cover to cover, Smith delivers insanely well-drawn characters and enough moments of levity to keep this paranormal romance moving along at a brisk pace. Never does Smith’s work lack. As the author bounces from one subplot to the next and back, she keeps readers on their toes and deeply involved with each of the main characters and their tragic lives.
Eva is simply amazing. Smith’s descriptions of both her wolf and human halves and how the two are often at odds is captivating. I am oddly fascinated by characters who choose to isolate themselves, and Eva is a prime example. There is so much to be explored in characters like Eva whose mental anguish is so tangible.
I would be remiss if I didn’t address Smith’s opening lines. It’s not often that I rave about the beginning of a book, but in this case it’s a must. From the first sentence, Smith had me hooked. I am not always one to pick a fantasy, but when I do, I lean toward those with characters who shape-shift. There comes with these characters a certain fascination that I don’t get with those in other fantasy novels. The mere mention of werewolves is enough to catch my eye, but Smith snags readers like me from the opening paragraph when she states that werewolves are, indeed, not mythical.
Smith has a unique take on settings. She places her clan in present day. At first, I was a bit taken aback, but I realized as I read that it completely works. It’s not the fact that their human halves are technologically savvy that makes or breaks a book of this genre, it was the inner turmoil of characters like these that makes them timeless.
Anyone who enjoys down-to-earth main characters in their fantasy series will be taken with Deegan and Eva. The entire cast of characters created by Smith is deserving of readers’ adoration for that matter. Humor is a big part of Smith’s writing and adds to the depth of her characters. I highly recommend this book to readers across genres–it’s a must-read.
Pages: 254 | ASIN: B07YG7NZ35
Spectre: A Kirk ingram Action Thriller is practically a movie in its embryonic stages. It features a tortured protagonist accused of being the perpetrator of a heinous crime, a tragedy-stricken sidekick, and perhaps most interestingly, the history of Christianity woven throughout the plot.
The story begins in 33 CE with a vague and mystifying account of a Jewish household. We are then brought forward 300 years, where a power-hungry emperor attempts to popularize the new religion Christianity and claim it for his own. However, we discover that there are people with supernatural powers, almost otherworldly that add conflict to the situation. Now, in the present day, former FBI agent Kirk Ingram is thought to be the killer of nearly all of an abbey’s residents. Using his wits and increasingly untrustworthy body, he pairs up with the last remaining resident of the abbey, Jovanni, in order to solve the mystery and save the world from mysterious dark forces.
The book lives up to its title- it is most definitely an action packed, thrill heavy ride; I can almost visualize a Tom Cruise scene accompanied by a hardcore, brainy backstory. I particularly enjoyed this novel because it reminded me of my science nerd phase, where I was a hopeless Dan Brown addict. Some parts of Spectre reminded me of the Da Vinci Code– maybe because of the religion-forward detective work that was happening. But at the same time, Douglas Misquita’s own voice was unquestionably distinctive. I would think of it as Da Vinci Code meets James Bond meets Kirk Ingram’s particular brand of panache. I found myself comparing it to a lot of movies- which I would assign as a hefty compliment to the book. I have read so many thrillers where the authors waxed poetic on their knowledge of spy-related stuff, and while educational, I am hardly reading thrillers for their didactic value. Douglas Misquita kept it to the point: it was informative without losing its entertainment value.
The author’s incisiveness and knowledge also shone through in all the parts where he linked the past and present; religious movements and their effects. Kirk Ingram and Jovanni are also in no manner the flawless heroes. Kirk has a troubling past and faces ethical dilemmas throughout the book; not to mention a body that can betray him at any moment. I enjoyed this aspect of the character- it adds depth and dimension to what can often and unfortunately turn out to be a two-dimensional untouchable action machine.
Spectre: A Kirk ingram Action Thriller is a riveting and engaging story that I would recommend. Nothing like a religious conspiracy theory filled thriller to keep you up all night!
Pages: 359 | ASIN: B07YDV1YWT
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Jessandra was content with her life in New York, before a creature hunted her down and took her to an underworld beneath the city. There, he reveals that she’s more than just a waitress living in a walk-up apartment with her sister. She’s his people’s last hope in ever seeing freedom.
Fallon’s people are done being slaves. Lacking the numbers to simply fight back and rebel, they’ve found a secret weapon: Jessandra. Once she discovers all that she is and can be, they will have a fighting chance.
That’s if they can keep their hands off one another. Should the enemy find out about Jessandra, the whole plan goes to hell. And her cover relies on the two keeping the heat between them a secret.
Parker and Kurt are in a constant struggle for power. They, together with other types of ‘exotics’, live in Seattle together with human beings. Human are afraid of them and are repelled by the very idea of these creatures. The exotics only want peace. There is a plan, but there is a woman who might prove problematic to the success of said plan. As a means of displaying his superiority, Kurt takes Parker’s woman. Not because he wants her but because he wants to make a statement. Will peace ever be achieved? Can Parker reclaim his woman?
Roxanne Bland has crafted an intriguing plot that takes the reader deep into a literary forest. This book is eventful, lively and is filled with action and brilliant dialogue. This book will appeal to the deepest most sentimental parts of you but still arouse your intrigue and sense of adventure. The author leaves you disturbed not just by the sequence of events but by the frequent twists that the story takes.
One thing is necessitated though, an open mind. The book is written with blatant eroticism. It is a thrilling book even with such a strong romantic undertone to it.
I am consistently impressed with Roxanne’s ability to craft deep characters that change as the story progresses. The characters also display a myriad of traits. Parker is the alpha of his pack. He is expected to be authoritative and firm. His interaction with his pack is actually quite revealing of his true nature. The reader gets a feel of who he truly is away from the role that has been foisted on him. His indecision and doubt shine a light on a different side of him. A side that even the best leaders in the world have. Kurt on the other hand is a textbook dictator. He favors power plays and will exercise his arrogance at the slightest opportunity. His sexual deviance is no surprise, though shocking.
The author is not afraid to display some uncharacteristic traits in her quest to paint wholesome and realistic characters. She goes out of her way to help the reader recognize said traits and even endear themselves to the characters. The smart use of dialogue and action keep this novel moving quickly. With an open mind and a thirst for excitement, you will enjoy this book.
Pages: 377 | ASIN: B07X6RRL5B