Blog Archives

Loved by Night: Trapped in the Triangle of Love

Loved by Night by Mildred Osei-Diko, is a fast-paced sensual fantasy novel about a forever war between vampires and werewolves, told through the eyes of Rebeka, an orphan girl, and her connection with four very different brothers, Stan, Nicholas, Antoli and Rikah. Each of them is forced to make terrible sacrifices to protect their family and the people they have come to love.

The engaging character-driven plot locks us into an intriguing world where vampires and werewolves are at war. Their savage war was sparked by the brother’s actions, and the dilemmas these characters face to survive.

I really enjoyed how Osei-Diko beautifully captures the frustration felt by orphaned Rebeka as she dreams of moving far away from the drudgery of her village life. In contrast, the four brothers, Stan, Nicholas, Antoli and Rikah are portrayed as living a care-free life growing up, practicing the combat skills their father had taught them. The brothers were born 1000 years ago, which gives this novel a vague but interesting historical aspect. The brother’s lives are changed forever in one traumatic night when the horror of their true natures is revealed. These invigorating twists and revelations come without warning and certainly keep readers on their edge of their seats. In the same way, there is a shocking revelation about Rebeka’s identity in the final battle, but I don’t want to ruin the ending, so I’ll just say the book has some wild twists.

The existence of these two warring is woven into the storyline slowly and makes really comes to fruition later in the novel. I did enjoy the backstory scenes which describe the terrible dilemmas that the four brothers face as they try and balance respect for human life, sexual attraction, and their need to feed. When Rebeka meets Stan, Nicholas and Antoli in a modern-day restaurant, the author cleverly contrasts her old life with their world of fierce fighting, luxury, and sexual power battles.

Rebeka falls almost instantly in love with Nicholas which will appeal to ardent romance fans that enjoy the genres tropes. The vampires are portrayed as sexually voracious and Rebeka is a willing ingenue and their is an alluring intimacy, but I wanted to explore it deeper and see their mutual desire for each other be drawn out. Why would Nicholas and Rebeka be so attracted to another at first sight if they come from opposite factions? What’s given is captivating, which makes me want to know more about their backstory.

I’m not sure if this is a warning or an invite, but I will say there are some erotic scenes and violence that will appeal to readers who enjoy provocative storytelling. Loved by Night is a fast-paced paranormal romance novel, with a page-turning plot that will appeal to readers of erotic romance and mainstream vampire and werewolf fantasy readers.

Pages: 103 | ASIN: B08LH6VCL6

Buy Now From B&N.com

The Steampunk Vampire Assassins

J.W. Zarek
J.W. Zarek Author Interview

The Devil Pulls the Strings follows a young man with uncontrollable panic attacks and time travelling abilities that send him on a race through time to capture a cursed melody. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

1) Honor the hero’s journey and infuse Slavic mythology and Baba Yaga in a modern day epic fantasy adventure.
2) Paganini’s association with the Devil.
3) The Rule of Three.
4) David Henry Sterry and Bonnie Solomon.

I wrote Chapter One Promise Me, because David Henry Sterry with The Book Doctors, read my first twenty-five pages, and said “You have to show the inciting incident, the joust, before Boone and Sapphire meet outside Stone’s brownstone.”

I wrote The Prologue, because Bonnie Solomon, Producer of Dreamworks’ SHREK and Walden’s THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, read my story and said “You have to show both secret societies before the joust occurs.”

For awareness purposes, there wasn’t a prologue in the first draft. However, without Bonnie’s suggestion, I never would created the prophecy scroll, or incorporated the domovoi into this story, or shown upfront the centuries old war between two opposing secret societies, or revealed why the horn gets blown at the joust, or created Pep, the runt domovoi, or Laureus the Scottish Warrior Laureus, or Lahash and Zakun, the steampunk vampire assassins.

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

1) Failure is not an option for Boone because all he’s ever known his entire life is failure and setback.

Boone’s development throughout the story shows he turns moments of failure into the catalyst for his success.

2) Boone discovers as the story unfolds it’s possible to work with, power through and overcome a circumstance, a condition, a disease or disorder.

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

1) You can overcome insurmountable obstacles.
2) No one is defined by their circumstances, condition, disease, or disorder.
3) The power of a promise.
4) Everyone has a choice.

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

The next book Flynn’s Folly is a heist job gone wrong and its availability is TBD.

Author Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook

THE DEVIL PULLS THE STRINGS, described as The Librarians meet The Magicians is a 76,000-word epic fantasy adventure with series potential, set in modern-day Wentzville, MO, New York City, and 1813 Genoa, Italy, weaves bromance, Slavic mythology, secret societies, Paganini’s music and time travel.Boone Daniels (22) has problems, debilitating panic attack, gut-wrenching guilt, a wendigo haunting him since age six, and now he almost killed his best friend in a joust. But when he fills in for his injured friend at a New York gig, he goes to meet the gig’s contact at his NYC brownstone and a body falls from the brownstone balcony and the place explodes with gun fire.Boone barely escapes but uncovers a sinister plot to perform a rare Paganini piece that summons the Devil to trap Baba Yaga and destroy modern-day New York City. Then finds himself on a race through time to capture the cursed melody. Along the way, a Romani immortal, steampunk vampires and Baba Yaga set the stage for war, and Boone shall have to risk death for redemption. Because all Boone wants is to keep a promise to a friend. The same friend, he almost killed last Sunday during a joust.Can a small-town Missouri musician outplay the supernatural and save NYC’s soul? The Devil Pulls the Strings is the pulse-pounding first tale in the Archivists series. If you like when tortured heroes, epic battles, time travel, twisted history and secret societies collide, then you’ll love J. W. Zarek’s spectacular page-turner.

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen by [Maria A. Palace]

Chapter Thirteen by Maria A. Palace is a riveting horror novel about losing love and finding it once again. Katy Burton is a young woman who lost both her mother and boyfriend within the same time frame. The grief behind these traumatic events was so powerful that she experienced nightmares several times. Maria A. Palace with a deeply intriguing and thrilling romance story that has a main character that, I think, any reader will be able to connect with, as I have.

Katy endures great pain, but she remains courageous in the face of some mystifying twists in the story and big reveals that will keep readers constantly on edge. She does not let the nightmares stop her from being the mother her daughter needed or being the town’s amazing news reporter. Being a good mother is a trait not often explored enough in horror or romance novels, as readers are often provided with strong but single women. Katy’s character has a lot of dimensions and depth because of these dual priorities. This alluring paranormal thriller takes Katy on a profound personal journey of self healing that is revealed in slow but fascinating ways which really elevates the tension. I liked how part of the closure she needed was found through the investigation of a news story, and I think this really gave the novel a lot of its momentum.

Chapter Thirteen by Maria A. Palace gives readers a rousing paranormal romance story with a dynamic main character and an amazing ending. Reading this story was incredibly enjoyable because I was able to live Katy’s life through her eyes. This narrative style provided plenty of opportunity to see how Katy tackled her trauma. This was a fantastically unpredictable paranormal thriller that uses a unique story to explore deep emotional trauma and how that affects the life of a very compelling character.

Pages: 267 | ASIN: B08ZHX9Z7N

Buy Now From B&N.com

 

We All Have Some Darkness

Cassie Sanchez
Cassie Sanchez Author Interview

Chasing the Darkness follows an assassin who’s given magical powers which unlock suppressed memories that turn his world upside down. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for Azrael came from a video game called Overwatch that my boys played. One of the characters is an assassin named Reaper, who can teleport. In my first draft, Azrael’s name was Grim, but after a search for names from different sources, I came across Azrael, which means Angel of Death. I didn’t just want the typical assassin on a quest for revenge, which is why I added the side effect of the magic. An assassin that feels empathy is a liability, which leads to his betrayal and being dependent on those he’s hunted, forcing him to face the past, the unwanted emotions, and the vulnerability of caring for someone besides himself.

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

During my writing and research, I found a quote by Plato: “For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of victories.” I love the anti-hero and the conflict of man vs. self, and for an assassin to conquer himself was an intriguing idea. I think we all have some darkness inside that we battle daily, and I wanted Azrael to be forced to deal with his darkness. Also, I learned from the Jerry Jenkins Guild about antagonists needing to be vulnerable (what he calls a “pet the dog moment”), and although Azrael wasn’t the antagonist, he still needed something to make him human, so to speak. Having an assassin cherish the sunrise, admiring its beauty, and the idea of starting new, brought a depth to Azrael that made him likable.

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

There were two underlying themes in Chasing the Darkness; redemption and forgiveness. Azrael in his quest for vengeance found redemption. His love interest, Kenz, who held onto bitterness and anger, learned forgiveness when she held Azrael’s life in her hand. These two themes allowed the characters to open themselves to the possibility of love.

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

I’m currently working on the sequel to Chasing the Darkness. I plan to have three books in this series, hoping to finish the sequel by the end of the year. It took me two years to complete the first, but I’m hoping to cut that time down so fans won’t have to wait too long between books.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram

Pain is inescapable. Suffering is a choice.
 
Azrael, the Angel of Death, has known his fair share of pain. Losing his mother and sister and forced to join the Watch Guard at the age of twelve, he becomes the most feared assassin in all of Pandaren. As a Hunter, he searches for those with magic, called Spectrals, but has his own agenda–destroying the Fire Spectral who altered the course of his life.

Azrael, obsessed with revenge and power, undergoes an experimental procedure that gives him magic, but unexpected side effects cause chaos, and he becomes a liability to the Hunters and the Watch Guard, for the Angel of Death cannot have a conscience.

Rescued by the people he has sworn to eliminate, Azrael finds himself questioning everything he once believed as years of secrets and lies are exposed. His very nature is challenged as he battles unfamiliar emotions and navigates relationships that contradict the heart of a killer.

Chasing the Darkness is an escape to a land of magic, sword fights, and love, with memorable characters who come face-to-face with the darkness within, forced to journey down a path of either destruction or redemption.

The Devil Pulls the Strings

The Devil Pulls the Strings by [J.W. Zarek, Peter Johnston, Susanne Purvis]

Boone’s life has changed, and it changed in the time it takes to blow an air horn. What should have gone without a hitch turned into an event that could easily have taken his best friend’s life and left Boone standing as the guilty party. Boone, not exactly one for making a spectacle of himself, is now doing his best to pull it together and stand in for Flynn and take his place in the upcoming gig. Boone is prepared, but is he really ready for what lies ahead? There is something Flynn has been hiding from him, and he can’t quite put his finger on it.

The Devil Pulls the Strings, by J.W. Zarek, is the story of Boone, a young man left with a unique set of abilities following a freak accident. Boone now experiences panic attacks and is able to time travel–all out of his control. The big city seems like the worst possible place for Boone, but his debt to Flynn is a big one and must be paid. When he finds himself without the advantage of having a cell phone and being pushed around on the bustling streets of New York City, Boone realizes exactly how far out of his element he really is.

I really love Boone’s character. He’s confused. He’s genuine. And he’s one determined guy. His challenges are beyond those of most main characters you could name, yet he somehow persists. The fact that he is not quite at ease with his abilities makes him even more endearing. The vulnerability given him by the author makes him that much more relatable.

The world Zarek has created for readers is a wonderful blend of science fiction and present day reality. The contrast between the two is amazing and gives readers the best of both worlds. Science fiction fans will enjoy wonderful descriptions of the altered reality Boone is forced to face–vivid scenes, well-drawn characters, and enthralling plot lines. I was especially taken with the way Zarek incorporates the wendigo into Boone’s storyline.

The Devil Pulls the Strings is an enthralling epic fantasy novel. Readers looking for an exhilarating storyline steeped in fantasy and science fiction will become instant fans of Zarek’s work. The plot is involved but will have readers on the edge of their seats rooting for its main character, Boone.

Pages: 252 | ASIN: B09435JJ67

Buy Now From B&N.com

Into a Dystopian Universe

Gary Szendzielarz
Gary Szendzielarz Author Interview

Fallen Gods follows a young man that suddenly discovers he has powers and sets out on journey that reveals much more about himself and the world then he had imagined. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I began writing this story, albeit it very differently at the time, as a teenager in school. I actually had a tough time in school, was bullied quite badly, but at the same time I didn’t want to just give up. Instead I focused on my fantasies, essentially what if? Over the years, my ideas developed but I didn’t really have the drive I needed to write the book properly. Then I told the story to my wife and she pushed me to get it done.

The idea of the witches was inspired by a group of girls I knew at school. They were essentially “IT” girls, not bullies of other girls, but they were the ones who every girl wanted to be. Completely by chance, my older brother was friends with the brother of one of the girls, and for some reason, that meant that I became a friend to the girls. It felt special to me and really put me in a different place; but then the more I got to know them personally, the more I felt that they were not the nicest people to be around.

Adam is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

That comes from my experiences growing up on the Isle of Man, and then being forced to move to Lincolnshire, which was hell on Earth for me. I was always an emotional person but after my set of misfortunes over the years, I grew a thick-skin, which led into the position I am in today at work, done all through determination and fight. I wanted Adam to go through the same thing, just much faster, obviously. I wanted to character to actually be a beacon for all those who struggle to recognise their own potential, to be able to understand that we are all capable of more, to beat our demons; we just need time and support. But it’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay to cry and get scared.

The psychology of the main characters is extremely important for me, because this is essentially the introductory book to a string of follow-ups. It will lead into a dystopian universe which will twist a little bit. I know one of my concerns were on the character development at the beginning, that I did not develop the connection to the characters until later in the book, and for some that maybe a problem, but it’s important to understand that none of the characters have fully developed into what they will become, and we still do not know if what happened throughout the book was the correct thing for the world.

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

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but for me religion has always played a negative element in my life. It never had good experiences with religion and it has left a bitter taste in my mouth. As an atheist, I wanted to provide an alternative angle to religion, to allow us to question why Abrahamic religions play so heavily on the idea of masculinity, and why women were second class in the bible etc. What if all of this was a cover for something much deeper and darker?

I also wanted to address the idea of gender and sexuality. If we were to look at the world as the witches did, then there is a fluidity to their sexuality, but their own take on religion takes away the idea of multiple genders. In some ways, we could suggest that the fight against the witches could be mistakenly viewed as misogyny, right up until you realise that the witches care less about women and men but really their own selfish gains.

Finally, there are hints in the book of Adam’s sexuality too, but given how confused he is by his own situation, I did not want to address it too deeply. Really, I wanted to leave it to the reader for them to make their own judgment of who or what Adam really is.

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

I’m actually working on the next books for the Fallen Gods series. One will be the direct sequel, taking place a decade and a half after the events in Fallen Gods, and will be a decidedly darker and longer novel than the first. Then the other is a shorter novella that I will be giving away online free, and will be about a different character not in the first book, and will be a join between book 1 and 2, but can also be read as a standalone novella; in other words, the idea is that you can read the novella and then go and read the first or second book and still know what is going on.

I also have a couple of other ideas in the works, but they are in the skeleton phase right now. One is about a part-time government assassin who accidentally kicks off a revolution. Another is a dark thriller about husband who discovers a dark secret about his Czech wife and her childhood at time when she escaped from communist Czechoslovakia.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Adam Slater always felt something was off about his life; that he was not supposed to be a bullied, wimpy little kid.

In 1984, eight year old Adam and his friends discover an abandoned car near a large creepy work shed. Kids being kids, they decide to search, only to find the car belongs to a missing MI5 agent named Hendley. In the car, Adam finds an old leather-bound book written in a language, the likes of which he had never seen before; whilst Adam’s friend Ian enters the shed, only to suddenly vanish, never to be seen again.

All of this kicks off events which will change Adam’s life forever. On his eighteenth birthday, everything changes in an instant. Suddenly, he is strong, powerful, and can do things which should have been impossible.

Determined to understand who, or what he is, Adam begins to investigate, discovering an alien race of women, trapped on Earth for millennia, known as Witches, who shaped modern-day religion. He also discovers that the MI5 agent’s wife, Carol, is not who she appears.

Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, surrounded by his best friends, Adam travels across Europe, visiting historical sites and investigating Greek mythology, to find out why he has powers. Joining them are four beautiful girls; girls the boys never dreamed of talking to before. But these are no ordinary girls; rather they are witches who may not have Adam’s best interests at heart. Adam soon discovers that not all is as it seems, and their journey will not be a fun-filled relaxing adventure, but rather a trail of death and destruction, leading to the revelation that the world is in grave danger and Adam may be the only person capable of saving humanity.

Standing in the way will be the witches and the threat of a bounty hunter goddess named Venus. What begins as an epic adventure amongst friends, descends into a battle of epic proportions, and a race against time to stop an evil goddess from restoring her powers and destroying the Earth once and for all.

Adam has to grow from weak wimpy kid, to confident, strong adult; and fast. In order to do that, he needs to discover who he is and why, and he may not like the answer. The truth could ruin him. Getting the answer may kill him, and everyone he holds close. One thing is for certain, the world will never be the same again.

Her Crushing Addiction

Drew Kientz
Drew Kientz Author Interview

Chrysalis follows a drug dealer/addict as she discovers she has special abilities and discovers a secret society where people with abilities jockey for power. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

It’s a story that was brewing in my mind for years. I myself used to be a drug addict (I’ve been clean now for two years), and by being one, I knew plenty of others as well. Nearly all of them were “normal” people who could be described as “high-functioning” addicts. They’d hold down jobs, pay taxes, try their best with their family life, had hobbies and other interests, and so on. I felt that all mediums of entertainment damn near always showed an addict as some cretin in a filthy back alley. An instant villain. For me, this would completely shatter my immersion, because that’s simply not how most of “us” operated. Most addicts are trying to escape pain. Pain from life’s traumas, as well as literal physical pain. To immediately consider someone less than human because they have an addiction is the complete opposite of how we should be approaching the matter.

I wanted to write a story where the concept of addiction is portrayed accurately. I thought it would be a cool idea to take a “troubled” individual and then grant them supernatural power. As you can see in Chrysalis, Juniper’s powers are practically an afterthought for her when contrasted with her crushing addiction to heroin and other opiates. It was important to me to show that she is a fully realized human being. Meaning, human beings are creatures full of nuance and drives, and it’s important to keep a sense of humor, even when going through hard times and life’s challenges.

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

That’s a great question. I felt it was important to relay the idea that these “Enlightened” are normal people who just happen to be capable of exceptional things. Just because you can conjure a fireball from thin air doesn’t mean that gives you a license to be an asshole. As far as Juniper’s ideals go, I’d summarize her like this: At her core, Juniper is a good human being. She has a quicksilver mind and sharp wit. She’s damaged, quick to laugh & smile, HATES authority, bucks at traditional establishments, and has zero patience for bigotry, racism, and xenophobia. Although she tries her best to stay as a lone wolf, whenever she is in a situation that calls for leadership; somehow, someway, people insist on throwing her into that role.

Leadership to her is something she balks at, because she recognizes the enormous responsibility of being in that role. She feels that if she’s the one other people are looking to for guidance, then everyone must be in a terrible position (Hah!). But she’s good at it. She radiates a natural charisma that people around her are drawn to. She IS leadership material, but the role of leader is one that makes her quite uncomfortable.

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

Embrace the role of the outsider. Don’t be afraid to be the one to speak up differently from the rest of the crowd. Sometimes, that is an extremely difficult thing to do, but in doing so, you’ll attract others that think like yourself, and before you know it, you’ll have a special group of your own. Your own crowd. The loyalty that comes from alienated people who finally find their “tribe” is on a whole other level.

Here, I’ll finish this part up with this. Technically, I wrote this dialogue thinking it was going to go in book one, but it’s slated for two. So, a tiny sneak-peek, if you will.

“It’s not how deep you were buried, Juniper. It’s how far you have risen that truly matters. It’s not the goals that you set, but the challenges you faced. It’s not the hardship you endured, it’s the pain you overcame. You are more important now than ever. You have the ability to change the world. You, and you alone get to decide how to live. You are a woman, not just a being. Not just a Primeval. Don’t ever forget that.” – Dr. Tuppence Buckingham

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

I’m currently hard at work on Book Two of “A Perfect Order.” It’s called “Almagest.” It’ll be out this summer!

Author Links: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Juniper Appleblossom is a drug addict, self-appointed rock star, and unknowingly one of the most powerful Enlightened ever to walk the Earth. After meeting Dr. Tuppence Buckingham at gunpoint, she is dragged into a world of secret societies where people with special abilities jockey for power while holding back threats who prey on mankind.

In a matter of days, Juniper discovers that demons, spirits, and witches are all very real, and a 187-year-old French man tells her she is supposed to be mankind’s latest budding savior. Even though her powers develop faster than anyone else who has come before, Juniper is more concerned with getting her next fix.

She’ll have to bring together clashing lifestyles if she has any hope at tackling her first supernatural threat. A local Arkansan Cherokee tribe has a wendigo problem, and she’s the only one who can stop it.

Fallen Gods

Fallen Gods by [Gary Szendzielarz]

The story of Fallen Gods revolves around Adam Slater, who on his eighteenth birthday suddenly comes into the possession of superpowers, without having any knowledge of where they came from. He decides to travel along with his friends to explore the cause behind this unexpected power, and the abrupt change in his demeanor, from a bullied child to a confident and strong adult. As he travels through Europe, he takes a deep interest in Greek mythology and folklore and attempts to find out why he has been bestowed with special powers. 

During this adventurous journey of self-exploration, he encounters four aliens called witches, who might be after him. These women are unimaginably beautiful, but they might have malicious intent. Soon enough, Adam learns about the deep danger that the planet is facing, and also comes to terms with the fact that perhaps he is the only one who can save earth from destruction. 

Seeking the truth might lead to more danger, and nobody knows what the future has in store. Will Adam discover the true source of his powers? What does it have to do with the abandoned MI5 agent’s car he found as a kid? These inevitable questions are answered, but with ample suspense and a dexterous grip over the storyline.

This thrilling story follows the classic fantasy superhero plot where the hero suddenly realizes his supernatural powers, an origin story of sorts, but in this unique setup our hero also faces an army of extraterrestrial beings conspiring behind his back. While the tension is high the novel still makes a bold attempt at focusing more on character development. The novel is filled with intriguing characters, and the author has given each one of them a fair share of attention. The story is more character-centric in nature, making it all the more engaging for the reader. 

The story is fast-paced and filled with action. The novel at certain points contains explicit language, violent imagery, and excessive action, which may not be suitable for young readers, but will be enthralling for mature readers looking for an intense read. The story demands your full attention if the reader wishes to remember the nifty details that have been incorporated in every section of the novel.

Fallen Gods has an intriguing plot, well-explored characters, and a high level of intrigue that ensures this novel is consistently entertaining. Author Gary Szendzielarz gives readers a thrilling fantasy story that knows how to build up compelling characters and test them in some riveting ways.

Pages: 303 | ASIN: B08ZL67J2Q

Buy Now From B&N.com

%d bloggers like this: