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Heart of the Rose, by Michael Sauls, is the second book in his Chronicles of the Rose series. This exciting book picks up on the adventure of Thorne and Lorena. Thorne goes from a simple mercenary ship captain to a pirate hunter with a larger destiny of breaking curses. Lorena is an elf with a haunted box and a shady past who works for a mage. But as Thorne and Lorena’s relationship deepens, readers are left wondering if Thorne will be able to break Lorena’s connection to the haunted box.

The author provides enough background details and information about the characters so that even if readers have not read book one, they can pick up this book and easily follow along. This character-driven story provides distinct personalities and unique characteristics, so all the characters are easy to tell apart. In addition, the author expertly intertwines the voices of each character so that readers can hear their voices and point of view without being muddled and confusing.

I enjoyed the fantasy aspect of the story, filled with elves, dragons, and wizards, allowing my imagination to run wild. There are also some unexpected characters in the story that are a pleasant surprise and show the author’s distinct writing style. Sauls’s attention to detail shows through his world-building skills that will transport readers into the story, and they will feel they are right there with Lorena and Thorne.

Throughout the novel, the author provides readers with the necessary information, such as descriptions of the settings and the differences between the elves. While this is essential information, I feel it would have been presented better if the author had incorporated that information into the story rather than telling it to readers. However, when the author showed rather than told information in the story, his talent shined.

Heart of the Rose is a well-conceived novel with plenty of action and adventure for readers to follow. This fantasy novel will engage readers with new strong and interesting characters and an imaginative world to explore.

Pages: 314 | ASIN : B09P21D8XR

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I Found Something New And Exciting

Author Interview
Theo Clarkson Author Interview

Muddied Waters: Coda follows several characters as they explore different paths in life. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

In our previous interview concerning Muddied Waters, I mentioned how it didn’t feel right abandoning Chelsea’s character to the cutting room floor. Now that the novel is finished and I’m beginning to see the feedback, I’m very glad I wrote Coda. She is the most badass female character I could ever concoct and it was mostly to make things right for her, in my mind. Another big inspiration was my research on the Haitian Revolution, which felt like the missing piece I needed to set Coda’s atmosphere. Under no circumstances was I interested in retreading themes from the first book- I’d said all I was going to say about pirate culture. With this important piece of history, I found something new and exciting: musings about motherlands and their colonies, with comparisons to family dynamics, parents and their progeny.

What is one pivotal moment in the story that you think best defines Teague?

Excellent, excellent question! I never fully considered what defines my characters, likely because I’ve never really had that kind of introspection with myself. That being said, I believe a person’s character is defined many small moments, rather than just one or two cataclysmic events. Because Teague had seen and done so much in life, because he couldn’t think of a single thing left to carry on for, he spends the novel trying to find a way to die right, whether it’s by his own power or someone else’s. The terrier scene is directly inspired by a personal experience, so that holds a special place in my heart. I’m quite proud of the gallows scene as well. But when I read or watch movies, my favourite moments always tend to be the ones that at first glance are inconsequential, so I’ll say it’s when Teague throws Viceroy Belo’s destroyed pommel into Puerto Bello’s harbour. It’s the first real step he takes on his journey, and the first step is always the most important.

Were you able to achieve everything you wanted with the characters in the novel?

I believe so. I’m happy with how I wrapped up Teague’s saga, and positively overjoyed that I could present Chelsea to you all! Jonathan began as a sort of last-minute addition, and I hope he rose above the literary tool I initially created him as to better flesh out Chelsea’s arc. I purposely kept Rafael and Bernal bare-bones, to make it feel as if the reader was on the outside, witnessing a conflict that was none of their business. Teo Quintana was the perfect replacement for Ross Stone. The only character that I’m still not sure about is Alger: he seemed removed from the main story, though if I’m honest, he should be, given his circumstances. I had a very difficult time developing his perspective as it related to Saint Domingue; I wanted him to represent the social progress in Europe at the time (ie. powerful white men benefitting from the status quo who also recognize the societal cost), but not so much that he came off as bleeding-heart or…dare I say it…”woke”. Regardless, if I was going to properly conclude Teague’s story, I had no choice but to provide Alger the same service. I did my best to do that.

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

I have a major project, still in its early stages. It will be my attempt at a fantasy. I also have an experimental novella that explores solitude and paranoia. That one is more of a psychological horror. There is no timeline for their completion and if I do end up finishing them, I don’t see myself coming up with anything else. Never say never, though!

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“Aye, I was a pirate, ’tis true”

Years after pillaging the Nossa Senhora Do Abismo, ex-pirate Jackson Teague continues to struggle with the costly fallout from the ill-fated galleon’s bounty. Half a world away, a grownup Alger Moore finds equal difficulty in reconciling their shared past. But when a ruthless and diverse crew of bandits begin rampaging across the Caribbean, both will be inexplicably pulled back into a world they thought had been effectively ended by Europe’s perceived social progress. Navigating around a burgeoning culture of independence within the New World’s colonies, both will be afforded the rare opportunity to find closure with each other and themselves.

A World That May Never Accept Him

Author Interview
Theo Clarkson Author Interview

Muddied Waters tells the story of pirates looking for that last big score. When things don’t go as planed it becomes a race for their lives. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?​

The first chapter of Muddied Waters is essentially a dramatization of an actual event involving the pirate crews of Olivier Levasseur and John Taylor, who stumbled upon the damaged treasure galleon of the Portuguese Bishop of Goa. The ship, Nossa Senhora do Cabo, had been the victim of a storm near the island of Reunion the previous night. The pirates raided the hapless viceroy’s ship and made off with the bishop’s wealth, leaving him to return to Lisbon penniless. According to historical records, the story ends here- the pirates were never heard from again. I found this to be the perfect catalyst to a fictional yarn, one where I could create an accurate depiction of what life on the high seas could have been like during the 18th century. Jackson Teague is my version of Taylor, a newly appointed captain eager to prove his leadership after a successful mutiny against his previous captain. Much of my backstories are inspired by other actual events during these times.

What was your favorite scene in this story?

In “A Lion Among Hyenas”, I give the reader a rich backstory of Awiti, one of Teague’s crew. I found this character to be infinitely compelling, given the fact he is an albino mute, and felt he deserved the most attention as a character unable to tell the others about his own life and motivations. For much of the book, no one else but the reader knows who he truly is or where he came from. To me, he is the most fascinating player in Muddied Waters, and I very much enjoyed contrasting him against his lessers- a true warrior who had fallen in with a group of misfits for the sake of his own survival in a world that may never accept him as he is.

Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?

I’ve read many, many books about piracy and the thing that impresses me the most is how well they adhered to the principles of democracy. While mutinies aboard any other vessel can be viewed as insubordination against an established authority, the situation aboard a pirate vessel seems much more honest. The power was always held by the majority, and not by the one they elected to speak for them. Leadership was a privilege earned from the backing of your peers, one that could be taken from you the moment you failed to satisfy the reason they put you at the helm in the first place. I think that’s an amazing tidbit.

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

I initially dove into writing only standalone novels. Series’ have never appealed to me and my opinion had always been that the best books were the ones expressed the author’s philosophy and world-view within the context of an interesting story. I wrote Muddied Waters so that I could ruminate on the nuances of these rebels of the Golden Age. Problem was I had come up with an amazing female character I just could not effectively fit into the plot and I had to leave her on the cutting room floor in favour of pacing and continuity. This bugged me a lot, until I realized a way I could continue Teague’s story while not retreading the same themes in the first novel. So, I came up with an unplanned sequel centred around colonialism and slavery in the New World that allowed me to tell her story as well. Muddied Waters: Coda is in its final stages of editing and will be released in early 2022. I hope you enjoy it!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

It is the end of the Golden Age of Piracy, with all of the most famous bandits either killed, disappeared, or captured and executed by authorities. A retiring viceroy, on his way home and carrying with him decades worth of riches, runs into one of the few crews of brigands left roaming the open waters. His misfortune is not only the haul of their lives, but a prize for the ages. The pirates attempt to disappear with the treasure, not realizing that this viceroy will stop at nothing to regain what has been stolen from him. Muddied Waters is a tale of ambitious and uncompromising men who carry with them not only the fruits of their plunder, but the weight of its true cost.

Mermaids and Sirens

Kimberley Cale
Kimberley Cale Author Interview

Caught follows a mermaid who is captured by a vengeful pirate and finds that she may not want to escape his embrace. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

I got my inspiration from the Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides. That’s where the idea of mermaids attacking a pirate ship came from also the Disney movie Sinbad where the water sirens’ were attacking the ship gave me the idea for establishing a difference between mermaids and sirens.

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

I wanted her to have a strong connection to her family the ones she loves. It’s what drives her actions.

I appreciated the careful development of the mythology of this world. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in your story?

I wanted to show how even through one’s intentions might be pure in the beginning, if you’re not careful power can easily corrupt.

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

Claimed, Storm’s book which is book two in the series is next. It is currently in the editing process, and will be followed by Captivated Book Three which is Jewel’s story.

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

A vengeful pirate…
Ruthless pirate captain Quinn O’Connor is bent on getting revenge on the creatures who sank his ship and killed his crew. When he claims their leader as his captive, he doesn’t expect the scorching consequences that come with being stranded with her on a mysterious island.
A beautiful sea temptress…
Lorelei, a daughter of Poseidon, is willing to bargain with the dangerous pirate who captured her in order to save the ones she loves. He believes the worst of her and her kind, and when he drags her onto dry land, turning her beautiful tail into a pair of unsteady legs, she’s not sure if she’ll be able to return home—and soon she starts to wonder if she really wants to.
Magic and mayhem bring them together…
With each smoldering kiss, each heated touch, their desire blazes higher. Can they overcome misunderstandings and monstrous enemies seeking to tear them apart? Will a mermaid challenge her fate for the love of a pirate? Will an unforgiving pirate give up his revenge and take on a god to save his mermaid?

This Was My Mad Doctor

T.L. Bailey Author Interview

T.L. Bailey Author Interview

Eve of the Hunters finds Eve stranded on a jungle island fighting for her life while Nyx is releasing the Ancient Enemy. What were some themes you wanted to carry through from the other books in the series and what were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book?

I really wanted to show how far Nyx would go if he was unopposed, and that there were consequences to Eve and the others leaving to protect her. The whole idea for book two was that I had to bond these characters in a strong way, and fast. They all come from diverse backgrounds and had nothing in common with one another. I have learned from watching tragedy movies that a way to bond people is through surviving horrific ordeals together. It changes people. I wanted to see how my characters would act and how it would later change their views and their way of thinking.

I also was a big fan of the sci-fi movie, “The Island of Dr. Moreau” and I wanted to make a tribute to that movie. This was my mad doctor and his pets.

I enjoyed the prose and dialogue in this book. What is your writing process like in creating the interactions between characters?

I grew up watching “Abbot and Costello” movies and I have always loved the comedy/horror aspect. It was a touchy thing to do because everyone feels that horror has to be 100 percent serious and tense all the time. Yes. But we are human beings and unless this is planet Vulcan, we do have emotions. I think laughing or even making witty comebacks as you face down something atrocious, is simply masterful. I liked how I can do that through Rowan, he is my “Ichabod Crane” and I can use him to be witty and humorous. The interactions between Black slapping Roman when he says something stupid is my “Abbott and Costello” aspect. My whole love/hate between the good doctor and the pirate is my fondness of “Star Trek Bones and Spock” and their unspoken friendship.

What reader reactions have surprised you the most about your books?

This being a fantasy book I would have thought Argo or Lycaon being the top readers favorite character… but the pirate has won most readers hearts.

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

The third is The Dark Age Chronicles Eve of Destruction and will be available soon.

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads | Pinterest

Stranded on an elusive island in the middle of nowhere, Eve and the others try to survive the island’s thick jungle. As they explore their surroundings they find what looks like an Aztec pyramid built in the center of the island. They soon learn that the island’s inhabitants are far from what they think, and it sends them in their darkest fears as they race for their lives against creatures hell bent on consuming them alive, and a family of sadistic hunters out for fun. Together they must pit all their survival skills to outwit their newest prison: a Labyrinth full of deadly traps…….meanwhile, unopposed, Nyx unleashes mankind’s greatest foe….the Ancient Enemy.

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What Is Their Endgame?

R.L. Dean Author Interview

R.L. Dean Author Interview

The Rhine is an exciting space opera following a dramatic chain of events set off by the Free Mars Now movement. What served as sources of inspiration for you while writing this book?

The Harmony series is based off of a 15 year old TV script that I wrote about Martian independence, the novel form is its third incarnation. That script was inspired by the TV show Babylon 5. I wanted to explore Mars more thoroughly; what is the impetus for the movement for independence, who are the leaders, what is their endgame?

We follow three very well developed characters in this story where their actions intertwine. What were some driving ideals behind their characters?

Mat is the ‘everyman’ or ‘average guy’ that suddenly finds himself in circumstances beyond his control, and in this capacity he is simply ‘reacting’ to what is happening. This was a deliberate design of character. Every one of us can relate to being ‘tossed’ into something that we must deal with- circumstances not of our own choosing. This also works as a forge for our own character, who we really are will come out. I think of all character archetypes, this is my favorite.

While it may be said that the UN (in my story) is the catalyst- their oppression of Mars setting everything in motion- the character of Alexandria is the one that sets the story off. She is my ‘grey’ character; a family woman, yet ambitious. In her case I wanted to explore those traits, how to balance ‘work’ and family. She loves her family, and seeing a world in the grip of government powers that live for greed, she decides to do something about it.

As the Governor of Mars, Shultz is completely dedicated to his people, but as the story progresses we see he’s in over his head. We hear so much about bad politicians, I thought I would shift the paradigm and make a good one.

You’ve built an intricate world in this book, between Earth and Mars and the corporations. What was the funnest part about building this world?

For me it’s the visualization. In a previous review of the book it was stated that I ‘lavish on detail’, and the reason for that is that I just write what I see. If Shultz and Jung are in his office talking, I imagine the office’s sights and sounds and smells. The same holds true for the Sadie’s corridors and cabins, or Apex’s boardroom.

This is book one in the Harmony series. Where will book two pick up and when will it be available?

Harmony Book 2: ‘Year of the Child’ picks up two months after the events in ‘The Rhine’, opening with Misaki. I expect it to be available by November 2019.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

The colony depends on Earth businesses for goods, but Earth is run by an imperialistic United Nations whose regulations and sanctions are overbearing.

Increasing tensions are only exacerbated by suspicious pirate attacks in the Belt. It is rumored the attacks are the work of the Free Mars Now grassroots movement or privateers paid by the Martian government in defiance of the UN. Recent victims of a pirate attack, Mat and his crew aboard the Sadie, discover evidence that could prove the rumors true.

With the UN squeezing the colony for every dime they can get, and Shultz looking to better the Martian situation, there are deals to be made. No one knows that better than Apex Mining’s CEO, Alexandria Reinhardt, whose Board of Directors has ordered her to sell their ore to the Martians despite a UN embargo. Her plans are more ambitious than simply ignoring government decrees, though.

Will the Free Mars Now movement find a way to release the colony from their 100-year lease to Earth? Can Shultz find a way to work with Earth companies without angering their government? Does Mat possess enough evidence to prove Mars’ disloyalty? And … in the past what happens when you push a distant colony too far?

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A World Much Darker

T.L. Bailey Author Interview

T.L. Bailey Author Interview

The Dark Age Chronicles is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a fantasy, horror, and adventure as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

Well, I knew that I wanted to have the book set in the time of pirates. I saw “Treasure Island” when I was twelve years old and after that I was in love with pirate movies. I watched every Earl Flynn movie I could, or anything pirate related. It wasn’t until I was older that I wanted to take that aspect of the dark ages, of how we treat one another, and introduce a world much darker, more sinister. Growing up I watched sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies and I think I always knew I would combine them if I could. My love for shows like, “Charmed”, “Walking Dead”, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, and “Supernatural” helped me want to combine the genre as I got older.

What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

I know this is going to sound so lame but I had a dream when I was twelve about this girl standing on a dock at night in a storm overlooking three tall ships. In the dream she was so sad and she seemed distressed. I woke up and have never got that image out of my mind. That was the day the story started to develop in my head…the day Eve was born. It wasn’t easy because as I grew up so did my character and I found ideas along my life that I wanted Eve to experience. I also had to develop a writing technique that I didn’t have at twelve. I actually had a file that I would place ideas in until the day came to actually start writing it. When it did, well, the book was transformed to new ideas as I wrote.

Eve is an interesting character that I thought was well developed. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

I wanted a character that was in the world but felt alienated as well. Giving her pale skin, unusual red hair, and a mark on her hand in the dark ages was like signing her death warrant. To have to be born with that stigmata helped set up the story line for Eve’s fears, and her long for social acceptance. Because of the lack of love she has been shown from Randall Cambridge, her grandfather, she feels like she is evil. Children often always blame themselves when adults do things, and Eve is no different. She even still tries to believe if she does what he wants she will win his love someday. Even though she is beaten down, she has an inner strength that won’t let her give up. I wanted a character that had to struggle with should I help these people even though they watched me get abused and didn’t help me? It would be hard for anyone to do that. I wanted to take her down that path and find out the answers.

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

The Dark Age Chronicles has four books total in the series and are all out on paper back or Kindle and I am currently writing a new novel called Portals.

The Dark Age Chronicles books in order: Eve of Darkness, Eve of the Hunters, Eve of Destruction and Eve of Battle.

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In 1717 it was a time of darkness,where stations kept to their own and people struggled to survive. A time where pirates still roamed the seas, slavery was suffered and ignorance reigned supreme. But there is coming a greater darkness that man can’t hope to fight A darkness that will consume every soul on earth. One young girl named Eve, born with a mark on her hand, outcast and abused, learns that she is the chosen one that must stop the rising evil. The last of a known race who protected the world, she must fight a horde of demonic hell hounds, demons, and her worst fears. Together with six others, she must learn to use powers she never knew she had if she ever hopes to defeat Nyx…. the most powerful Necromancer ever born.

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The Dark Age Chronicles

This is such an easy book to get lost in! I had so much fun reading this, I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I have found a new love for these fantasy type books that create an incredible world that you can’t help but feel like you are a part of. The fact that this book had so many mythical components as well as incredible characters and a fantastic story line just makes it even more intriguing.

If you are looking for a book that speaks to you, one that makes you feel like you are a part of something, then this book is definitely one you are going to want to pick up. When Eve realizes that she is the light in the dark days, after being abused and treated like a servant all of her life, it’s incredible. It was like watching an abused dog be taken in by a loving family, the way that the author describes the things that happen in this world, especially to Eve, it’s unbelievable, but you don’t want to put the book down because you are rooting for Eve to defeat evil.

There are two other books in this series that I cannot wait to get my hands on, there are just so many elements of this series that I wish it were a movie, or television show. You watch this story unfold in front of your eyes, and it’s like you’re no longer reading, you’re actually there, taking part in the action yourself. That’s how you know you found an incredible book, when you no longer feel as if you’re sitting on your couch but rather in the throes of action.

I definitely recommend this book to people who want some adventure, mystery and thrill in their stories. Eve is an incredible character, who doesn’t take any backtalk from anyone and is willing to put her life on the line for the good of mankind. Even though she is beaten down, and has been her entire life, she rises again and again to defeat the evil that has come to try and steal the life out of everyone around her. I cannot wait for you to read this book and love it as much as I did.

Pages: 349 | ASIN: 1980483159

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