Blog Archives

That’s Where The Story Begins

Rick Stepp-Bolling Author Interview

Ulan follows a woman that after being turned away from her community goes in search of discovering more about her gift and how to control it. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Because Ulan is a major character in the PATCH MAN series, I needed to know more about her. I needed to know why she became an assassin and how she could change from that role to become a leader in the rebellion. In order to understand her better, I needed her background and that’s where the story begins.

What was the inspiration for the relationship that develops between the characters?

Ulan never had a father figure in her life, so I needed to create someone to fill that role, but I also needed him to be conflicted so that their relationship helped Bas to find a kind of solace and purpose. Tara’s relationship with Ulan was a natural development of their intimacy. Tara provided Ulan with a role model in the Lore facility, but she also provided her with a love she had never experienced before and that love helped Ulan understand deeper emotions that would help her in the future.

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

Redemption is probably a major theme, but at the heart of everything love becomes the primary motivation for most of the characters. I also wanted to explore how a good person could be persuaded to do bad things. What drove Ulan to become who she will eventually be in the PATCH MAN series?

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

Book four of the PATCH MAN series, The Doppelganger Effect, has already been written and will soon be going through the editing process with my publisher, Crimson Cloak. This book takes the characters, Ten, Ulan, Meesha, and Riata into a parallel domain, but where their twins are mirror images. It should be out in another six months or so.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

A young Summian woman witnesses the murder of five Clan Hemite boys by Imperial Panthers. Shamed that she could do nothing but watch this tragedy, she returns the boys’ ID tags only to discover Clan Hemite blames her for their deaths and she is now targeted in a blood reckoning. With the help of Bas, a former underground fighter, she flees her village.

Bas travels with Ulan to Sum-Est, home of the Lore Master, Ja, in hopes the young woman will benefit from the mystical training to become a Lore Mistress. But the Red Ward from Clan Hemite has vowed to fulfill the blood reckoning and follows Ulan’s trail to Sum-Est. Ulan undertakes the rigorous Lore training so she will be strong enough when she again meets the Imperial Panthers, but becomes sidetracked by the beautiful novice, Tara.

Fiction Rooted In Reality

Jacob Paul Patchen Author Interview

No Pistol Tastes the Same follows a military veteran who is struggling with PTSD as he tries to repair his relationship his son, his wife amid earths impending doom. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

As a veteran who has battled the effects of PTSD and had friends who lost that battle, it was important for me to write a story that confronted the topic. I think PTSD is something worthy of a tale like this, fiction rooted in reality, to bring awareness, change, understanding, and maybe even hope to those affected by its symptoms.

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

I think JP has a lot of myself in him. While a lot of my characters do, I think for JP, I really wanted the reader to see the mental struggle that plagues someone with PTSD. At the surface, he is a self-destructing character who is also destroying the one thing he cares so much about: his family. But on a deeper level, we can see the inner-workings of a tormented man, husband, and father that wants to fight his fight alone and his way, not passing his burden on to the ones he loves. But in his stubbornness to stand in the fire alone, ultimately, it’s his family that gets burned.

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

The mental struggle that comes with PTSD. The destructive phases that were prevalent in my own struggles with PTSD and alcoholism. The metaphor of PTSD being this slow-burn, apocalyptic disaster that if left unchecked can truly destroy the world you’re living in. Humanity. The bond and strength of family. The stigma that tough men often face when it comes to mental health and the barriers that get in the way of them seeking help.

What can readers expect in book two of your PTSD Disaster series?

Book 2 will see the characters trying to survive in their new apocalyptic world. We’ll see healing and hurting. PTSD still ravaging the Grimm family, but in ways the reader may not have expected. The reader will also see the darker side of PTSD (formed from my own thoughts and experiences) where JP and Sgt. Grimm will teeter on the edge of becoming this viscous beast bent on protecting his family at all costs and the loving, caring, funny, personable human being he once was before the war.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

JP’s pistol tastes like bourbon.

Sergeant JP Grimm didn’t pull the trigger. Now his Marine brothers are dead. All victims of a child in a suicide vest…a child that resembled Sgt. Grimm’s very own. But how are you supposed to take a child’s life? How can you kill someone that looks just like your own son?

Those same hazel eyes he saw in his scope continue to haunt him long after he left the desert death lands as he tries to reconnect with his son, Adin. JP battles another war at home against PTSD and the worthless, dejected thoughts that he is the reason his friends are dead. His wife, Lisa, struggles to let her stubborn husband work it out on his own terms. She does all she can to give him space, support, and strength—but her love can only go so far.

As the world shows signs of impending doom from a weakening magnetic field and flaring sun, JP, too, shows signs of his own impending doom. After pushing everyone away, JP must face his nightmares to restore his relationship with his son, save his marriage, and save himself before the modern world burns out in a fiery, electromagnetic disaster.

Ulan

Ulan, by Rick Stepp-Bolling, is a prequel to The Patch Man. The story follows Ulan as she navigates a war between Summia and Imperia. Ulan comes into her own and sets the stage for many other characters in this novel. Ulan is a young girl in a poor living situation. Her father is a shell of the man he was before the war and abuses his wife and daughter. Ulan is outside of the compound after curfew and surrounded by six boys, taunting her, and making her feel unsafe. A militia, the Imperial Panthers, put an end to their actions by brutally killing the boys. Ulan is left alive to send a message to others in the compound. What Ulan witnessed changes her forever and puts her on a path to finding herself and her strength.

The thing that stood out to me with this book, looking back, is the characters. The characters in this intrepid adventure story were all methodically developed throughout the book and felt like thoughtfully crafted and layered characters by the end of the novel. Each character had their own unique development but kept the reader always wanting to learn more about them. I know I was looking forward to seeing how they would react to certain situations I saw coming.

The relationship between Bas, Ulan, and Tara were my favorite to read about throughout the novel. Bas is tasked with leading Ulan out of the compound and decides she is worthy of saving. He brings her to a sanctuary where she can learn how to use her gift and control herself. Tara is a Lore Mistress who becomes meaningful to Ulan and helps her learn their ways. Tragedy strikes at the sanctuary which prompts Ulan to get revenge. Reading about the strength Ulan develops and seeing who she becomes was the best part of the story. While I thought the characters well developed throughout the story, I would’ve liked to have known more about the character’s backgrounds.

The second thing that stood out to me was the intriguing detail that is infused within this post-apocalyptic world. It is a world that sets your imagination alight and is filled with fascinating things that add color and depth to the world.

Ulan sends a young woman, and readers, on a perilous adventure that is consistently entertaining. If you are a science fiction fan looking for a gripping story that is driven by a strong female character than this is a fantasy novel that will be hard to put down.

Pages: 283 | ASIN: B09LPS299M

Buy Now From Amazon

No Pistol Tastes the Same

Sgt. Grimm (J.P) opts to serve his country. Away from his family, he takes solace in the camaraderie of his fellow Marines, including Joey, his best friend. But it all goes wrong when Grimm loses his friend and other men he could have saved if he had acted faster. The patriotic soldier later returns from the war into the arms of his wife, son, and grandparents. But burdened by guilt and haunted by the bombs, blood, and deaths from the war, Grimm is not the same man he was when he left home. And his new demons threaten to tear apart everything and everyone he calls home. The question is, will he let them?

Although its curious title doesn’t give this away, No Pistol Tastes The Same is a gripping novel on post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans. It peels away the layers of unfamiliarity and reveals the deeply disturbing and lingering effects war has on the minds and lives of those who fight in it.

This story reminds me of why storytelling is a powerful tool to evoke empathy. Author Jacob Paul Patchen’s writing successfully transports readers into his main character’s reality, making an unfamiliar situation seem like a shared reality. Patchen is also great with imagery as he improves the reading experience with evocative descriptions of settings.

The story is delivered with the elegance and precision of a true wordsmith. Make no mistake, there aren’t flowery words or unclear metaphors. Instead, readers feel the total weight of a narrative cobbled with tools whose sophistication is in their cultured simplicity. The writing is so good that it strikes the heart where it matters in many places, ensuring that you feel the raw emotions being communicated. Altogether, the story is free-flowing, mainly punctuated by the moments of reflection and concern it triggers.

No Pistol Tastes the Same is a captivating war novel dealing with life after returning from war. The plot is pretty straightforward but excellently executed. The characters are relatable and make readers care about this remarkable story.

Buy Now From Amazon

Powerless

Powerless is a well-written and gritty take on small town life after a major disaster. Kevin Barton and his family live on the outskirts of Harpursville, a hamlet in rural New York. When a major blackout wipes out communication and modern electrical conveniences, the townsfolk must come together to survive. Most of the story takes place in the Barton’s household, where Kevin must transition from administrator to farmer. His wife, Monica, takes on the role of hunter and quartermaster as she minds their ever-dwindling supplies. Their daughter Kelly, and her stranded friend, Dina, try to cope with being teenagers while living through a minor apocalypse.

Powerless is a very realistic take on a prolonged state of emergency. While it is not nearly as dire or hard to digest as Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” (which gets a brief mention), and there are no post-apocalyptic monsters or zombies, the author covers actual threats, like lack of food, water, medicine, and the mixed intentions of other people, which makes this story feel much more grounded.

I find it refreshing that Kevin is an ill-equipped modern day everyman, more suited for desk work than living off the land. He’s not a man “with a certain set of skills” or a former special forces soldier. He’s just an average forty-year-old man who is lucky enough to live next door to a working farm in a time of crisis.

The theme of “power,” who has it, and who does not, is explored throughout the novel. Characters who find themselves powerless in the new world develop new skills to survive, some for the better, some worse. As supplies run out the idea of “neighbors helping neighbors” becomes more of a veiled menace than cheery mantra. Coming on the heels of a global pandemic, what once would seem like a survival fantasy story feels very real and very possible at this time in history.

Powerless is a riveting post-apocalyptic novel that plays with being a psychological thriller as well as a compelling character study.

Pages: 370 | ASIN: B09TX9P62R

Buy Now From Amazon

Threatened By An Advanced Race

Michael J. Farlow Author Interview

Dark Enemy follows the Earth’s space force leader as he tries to unify the allied forces while fighting politicians back on Earth. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The idea for the start of the series was the question: What would you do if you learned that the Earth was threatened by an advanced race while at the same time finding a source of advanced technology? Add that the person finding this out was at a point in his life when he was seeking simplicity.

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing, or did the characters’ personalities grow organically as you were writing?

I had an idea about the main character, Van Childs, but the rest introduced themselves over time. In fact, the characters dictated the story. I planned to stop at the third book, but the characters said no and took me to a fifth, Dark Enemy.

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

The reluctance of Van Childs to get involved. The lack of the technical skills on Earth to reproduce the technology of the Host in a timely manner. And the fight of greed over the need to survive.

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

The next book is called Crucible and is the beginning of a new series called Records of the Argos. Crucible is available now. After that will come Retribution which will be available in July or August of 2022.

Author Links: Amazon | Website | Facebook

Dark Enemy, Book 5 in the Host Saga, is a fast-paced, action-packed science fiction story that features a phenomenal inter-galactic conflict and great characters. The Van Childs who reluctantly became a beacon of hope for the people of Earth early in the series has changed. He is now a man who is sure of himself and knows that his responsibilities. Now that there is a bigger threat than ever from the Arkon, he knows the pressure is on him ten-fold. Is he going to make this work? Can he handle the responsibility of humanity’s survival? Read and see!

Age of Magnus (New Era 3) Book Three Keepers of the Rain

In his latest book Age of Magnus: Keepers of the Rain, David Crane continues telling the story of Magnus, an all-powerful Artificial Intelligence that, after a nuclear holocaust that destroyed human civilization, took into his hands the job of building a new world with a strict set of rules that would end human corruption once and for all. The book explores the state of Magnus’ world after 1,000 years of his reign: a sort of ‘human paradise’ that even extends beyond death with the help of virtual reality. The power that Magnus possesses is all-encompassing. He is, essentially, the god of humanity: he sees it all, takes care of everything, and ensures that the law and humanity are protected at all costs.

Narrated from Magnus’ perspective, the story is incredibly engaging as we get to see from the eyes of the most advanced supercomputer what humanity looks like and the plans he has for it. Magnus directly takes the role of God, and he’s worshiped by many all around the world as one. Humans seem to live in a perfect world, letting Magnus take care of the worst events on his own with the help of his self-made army of machines. However, the peace of the world has a very delicate balance that might be broken by the greed of a few. Challenging Magnus’ authority, the Global Human Resistance plans an insurrection with the ultimate goal of restoring the power of humans and getting rid of the rule of the machines. This sets the stage for what could be the biggest conflict between humans and machines in a final world war to restore and impose the peace of humanity.

The character of Magnus is an interesting and conflicting one. His thought process is simply fascinating all throughout the book. Even though he builds a paradise on Earth for humanity, this comes with one price: all humans must submit to his rule. However, this is not necessarily as terrifying as it sounds; Magnus is reasonable and sees himself as the father of humanity. He’s just trying to protect humans from their self-destructive impulses, building a better future for all. But this begs the question: Should the destiny of humanity be in the hands of a cybernetic entity? Should he have the power to function as judge, jury, and executioner?

The plot is realistic and showcases the human spirit, building two opposing groups: the machine worshipers and the machine haters. The conflict between the humans and the machines is always present, keeping the plot’s intrigue. As ruler of the whole world, Magnus always has to attend something, be it sabotaging the rebels’ plans or taking care of extremists on his own side. This makes the story very dynamic since the plot is always moving. With time, the readers themselves will have to question which side to support: the heaven of Magnus or the imperfect reality that comes with humanity.

Age of Magnus Book Three: Keepers of the Rain is a brilliant science-fiction book that will force the readers to constantly think about the future of humanity and the role that artificial intelligence should have in it.

Pages: 401 | ASIN : B09R91W7XH

Buy Now From Amazon

Wrath of Justice

Wrath of Justice by author Denna Holm dives into a bleak future where many people sacrifice nearly everything they have just to survive. It’s a world where food is limited, and raising a family isn’t an option for most people in a global wasteland. As a result, many parents make the difficult decision to sell one or more children, or make a deal with demons, to secure a better chance in life. For some, an adventurous, dangerous path is the ticket to salvation.

If you’re looking for an exciting indulgence, Wrath of Justice will keep you engaged from the very start. The story centers around Justice, who finds himself sold to a run-down brothel, where he’s destined to exist among the most brutal layer of society. His only chance of escape is an offer from a hunter, where he faces a new level of darkness. However, he finds a glimmer of hope and love throughout his journey between demons and debauchery.

This story weaves through the layers of a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world that offers more beneath the surface, with more significant risks, facing demons, and a thirst for basic survival. Justice learns more than he bargains for, and his life takes unexpected turns when he joins forces with Michael Santos. The characters are well developed and captivating, weaving a thrilling narrative through a dark future with a few plots twists. I enjoyed the pace and vibrant contrast of witches, demons, and brave characters weaving through a dreary landscape with lots of surprises.

Wrath of Justice is a thrilling novel that combines paranormal romance with action and suspense. This engaging book moves along quickly, with lots of steamy tension and unexpected turns, so readers will want to keep going to see what happens next. Overall this is a well-crafted and exciting story.

Pages: 379 | ASIN : B09PWLCMC8

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: