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White Knuckle Dance

White Knuckle Dance by [Andrew Cockburn]

White Knuckle Dance by Andrew Cockburn is a romantic novel filled with suspense, drama, and secrets. Dan sees himself as a regular guy working a regular day job, with no importance of any kind. He and Mary meet at a work function where they hit it off and his once normal, uninteresting life is turned upside down. While the two have a relationship, Dan discovers more things about himself that he didn’t know about before. He suspects there is more to Mary than what she allows other people to see and the more secrets he learns about her, and her about him, emotions are explored and vulnerability exhibited. Games begin and stakes are raised even higher and this leads to the white-knuckle dance around discovery, risks, and power in which we are not certain who will end up as the winner in this deadly game.

Andrew Cockburn incorporates local dialect within the book that gives the reader a connection with the native region in which the story is set. Direct speech has been richly used in the book to personalize the connection between the reader and the characters. The vivid description of events helps create imagery that is fully realized and helps fuel the reader’s imagination.

This is an emotionally charged story that focuses on the main characters riveting relationship, and this is the true gem of this story. I love how the chemistry between Dan and Mary develops and evolves over time. Guilt consumes Dan and this is what pushes him to seek therapy years later since he lost his mother. Introducing Mary in the book plays a major role in helping Dan finally open up and let go of some of the guilt he has been feeling for a long time. Their relationship serves to assure Dan that he is not the cause of his previous failed relationship. This is an impassioned story, that is beautifully written, and places compelling characters in various emotionally precarious situations.

White Knuckle Dance expertly balances mystery, chemistry, and suspense in a way that in an eloquent and fascinating way. This is a romantic suspense novel that surprised me on many levels, and stayed with me long after I put the book down.

Pages: 201 | ASIN: B08XY6VC2D

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Into His Psyche

Eli Pope
Eli Pope Author Interview

The Judgment Game follows a boy who tries to escape a sadistic father while also struggling to escape his own demons. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Originally, I wrote this novel and it ended with a happy ending, everything with Jay was neatly tied into a happy bow of his character accepting Jesus as his savior.

A friend of mine suggested that becoming “saved” was rarely such a quick and instant fix. Often the one involved, especially one such as Jay’s character, regresses and battles with their acceptance of faith. She also suggested to make it into a saga or series because its thriller genre would probably grow my reader base.

I went back to the editing and rewriting phases and really connected deeper with the characters. I found the darkness of Jay’s world intriguing and wondered just how many lives were in the shadows of most us who never recognized their existence. I wanted to entertain but also cause the reader to become drawn in to subject matter such as drugs, homelessness, mental illness, faith, and dysfunction along with the way some might deal or react to these situations—from both sides of the coin. Viola. This story grew and has become much deeper and defined in the continuing saga of the Cader family.

Billy Jay Cader was an interesting character that I enjoyed watching slowly evolve. What were some driving ideals behind the character’s development?

This is partially explained in the above answer, but honestly, Jay was a character that began evolving on his own. My original thoughts of giving him more or less an instant cure was now dashed, so I needed to give him more depth and mystery to draw the reader into his psyche wanting to know more. I liked giving him some areas in the story that might push the reader into some form of compassion or understanding of him because of where he’d come from. I also wanted to twist that feeling back and forth where the reader was truly involved in the battle of which side would “win him over.” Good or evil. It’s really a battle each of us experience in different ways, hopefully not to the extent of Jay’s internal war.

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

Life in general and how people choose to deal with it. People come from every corner of wealth, poverty, love, and abuse, and I wanted to take different characters from those standards of living, and twist them into situations thrown together along with the possible outcomes from making their decisions, good or bad. Again, we all make choices and most of us surround ourselves with like-people and similar upbringings. What happens when one such as Ben, who was given everything in life, but still makes harsh choices and fails, yet still has the compassion for someone else enough to put his life on risk to help. The human conditions. That is what my focus was. To not only entertain, but maybe educate in some small way of a life that most of us never see, but could be going on even next door to us.

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

I actually have the second offering to this story completed and just recently sent to my narrator Paul J McSorely, who is the voice of Jay and all the other characters from my world. He’s been incredible to work with and I can’t picture anyone else making these characters come alive like Paul does. The Spark of Wrath, which is book 2, will be out middle of this April, 2021. I have book 3 written and it is in my wonderful editor’s hands currently. My hope is to have it published by November of this year. I am writing the fourth and fifth future offerings, simultaneously. I’ve come up with a neat idea to make this series just a little different than others. I can’t give that away, so readers will need to stay tuned in and read or listen to each book on Audible as I release them to find out. I am enjoying these characters and have no plans to retire this series any time soon. As long as this story stays fresh, I plan to continue on with new characters possibly branching out into sister series down the road.

I do have some other plans mixed in the pot of keeping creative change in my writing. Possibly a book of shorts in the future. My first novel was published in 2019 and was more of a Christian fiction with less language and adult situations within. It was written under my birth name Steven G Bassett. The title is The Waning Crescent, and is available on Amazon. I chose to write my darker themes, such as The Mason Jar Series, under my pen name Eli Pope so readers who read my first book wouldn’t purchase book one of this series expecting the same kind of content. I do share my faith throughout The Mason Jar Series, but it isn’t the intent to be preachy. This series is definitely on the dark side mixing mystery, murder, romance, erotica, dysfunction, and twisted thrills. Faith is merely is another facet in life and mixes well within the story of one man’s struggle dealing with his demons.

Author Links: Facebook | Eli Pope | Steven G Bassett | Website

Billy Jay Cader came from an abusive past. Self-preservation forced him to run away at the age of fourteen. His daddy was full of demons and played a sadistic game in a lottery-type punishment with his boy. When Billy Jay ran from his daddy, he hoped to outrun those demons as well. As time passed, he realized he hadn’t been able to flee fast enough to escape them. Now those mental monsters were tightly nestled within. He was the new vessel to carry his daddy’s wrath. This is the story of how that monster from his past propagated into Billy Jay’s psyche and took over, compelling him to become the next generation of evil. Billy Jay’s young sons, Billy James, and Darrell Lee were now the recipients of his wrath as his hopeless, drunken wife watched from a distance. The story begins from the early Cader family traditions and the morally depraved control that the game of the Mason Jar truly possesses. The twisted and deranged values of retribution for wrongs committed, through a game of chance. This series is the one to compel you to binge listen and then crave the next allocation to see where the madness takes you. Full of mystery, evil, twisted love, erotica, lies, and murder. Billy Jay Cader is pure evil incarnate, drawing a small forgotten coastal town along the Gulf of Florida, circa the 80’s, into the web of a sociopath on a journey to destruction. His own? Or everyone that he encounters? Buy a ticket and ride a rollercoaster of fear battling faith, the past conquering hope, and the unforgiving allure of a simple game constructed of wood squares and a glass Mason jar. A game capable of destroying lives with a simple shake and release of the small wooden punishment tile. THE MASON JAR SERIES written by ELI POPE Book 2 THE SPARK OF WRATH is com

The Judgment Game

The Judgment Game (The Mason Jar Series Book 1) by [Eli Pope]

The Judgement Game by Eli Pope can be described in one word, captivating. In the first installment of this enthralling series, we meet young Billy Jay Cader (Jay). All he has ever known is abuse and torment. His dad is a vile man who uses a mason jar with wood tiles that list evil punishments. Jay’s father shakes the mason jar like a magic eight ball, and whichever tile falls into his hands will determine the punishment Jay or his sibling receives. We watch as Jay breaks free from his dad, but can he break free from this vicious cycle?

There is a lot to unpack with this novel. It covers meaningful topics such as abuse and generational trauma. Some may even refer to the generational trauma as a generational curse.

Pope has a talent for making his readers feel every emotion possible, but particularly the sadder ones. His detailed descriptions of essential plot points are absolutely incredible. They are well thought out, and he does not skip over even the smallest of details. Pope ensures that readers leave major plot points with all the answers they need.

Pope also did an amazing job handling sensitive topics. I felt that despite the vivid detail he did his best to show respect to those who have endured these awful circumstances. With that being said, a trigger warning is needed for this novel. The abuse scenes arouse some of the deepest and most upsetting thoughts and emotions.

In addition to Pope’s attention to detail, I appreciated his authentic characters and intriguing set of supporting characters. It can be easy for authors to skip over side characters and only view them as background fillers. You can see that Pope understood the crucial role these characters played to help produce an incredible story.

Overall, The Judgement Games is a riveting psychological thriller that is a gripping start to The Mason Jar series. If you are looking for an emotionally-charged novel that is thought-provoking as well as entertaining then you have plenty to sink into with The Judgement Games.

Pages: 243 | ASIN: B08J8J916M

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The Cardiff Giant

The Cardiff Giant is a hilarious novel first novel, in a series of four, that is set in Cooperstown, New York in 2003. Written by Larry Lockridge, the short novel is narrated by Jack, an investigative journalist dispatched to Cooperstown to investigate the disappearance of the Cardiff Giant.

Lockridge gives an informative and entertaining description of the Cooperstown setting. In some detail he describes the physical appearance of the town and the many tourist attractions such as the Baseball Hall of Fame. There is also a breakdown of the town’s cultural diversity and a brief history on how it came to exist. This sets the scene well for the rest of the story and hints at some of the action to follow.

Intense and complicated characters are an integral part of the novel. Jack is open minded investigative journalist and is prepared to find paranormal experiences in his mission to discover the secret of the missing Cardiff Giant. He soon finds himself in a town with an interesting community that includes such diverse characters as Tarbox the town sheriff (and pig farmer) sisters Sheila, a set designer, and Esther, a psychotherapist, Thor Ohnstad, head of the local Chamber of Commerce (and inn keeper).  Each character has their own motivations and unique voice, including beliefs in alien abduction, rebirthing, astrology, psychokinesis and kabbalistic numerology. Jack, the main character, even becomes entangled with the characters and their beliefs. Their belief systems often compete with other’s beliefs, which Lockridge brings alive with intense and occasionally absurd dialogue between the characters.

The story is organized into three parts, with numerous chapters in each. Despite the numerous characters, themes and romantic twists and turns, the story is well structured. It is very easy to follow and flows well.

Despite the outlandish characters and sometimes wild situations, author Larry Lockridge manages to cleverly couple this with some serious themes of love, jealousy, envy and pursuit of self-identity. These themes are obvious at the start of the novel and are cleverly carried through right until the end of the novel.

I highly recommend The Cardiff Giant. Author Larry Lockridge’s writing appealed to my sense of humor, but I also enjoyed the deeper underlying themes of the novel. The Cardiff Giant also gives the reader an opportunity to examine their own belief system, and self-identity – if one feels the need to read the book for more than just entertainment value. This is a satirical psychological thriller unlike any other book I’ve read recently.

Pages: 164 | ISBN: 1771804246

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University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy – Book Trailer

University on Watch is a story about youthful hope, yearning for more, and triumph over failures and mistakes beyond our own control and doing. The book is a native story to New York state, but couldn’t be more otherworldly, at times supernatural and grippingly suspenseful as the book unfolds. The crisis in the academy, or New London University, is one that goes to the very epicenter of higher learning and education. This crisis is also conjectured, created by the mind of Jacques Peters, a student rejected from the graduate school in English at New London University.

Jacques Peters will do everything in his power to uncover the reason for his rejection from graduate school. Meta-power, a word Jacques Peters believes is behind the root of power in the English department and the reason for his rejection becomes the point of departure for a quest into the very root of power in New London. During this quest, Jacques stops at nothing to hold university officials, department offices, and the community accountable for terminating his education prematurely.

Mr. Peters will travel across New York State, visiting friends, loved ones, and old schoolmates from his High School days at Wales. Through his journey, Jacques will undergo another transformation while contesting the admission decision to the very end, putting his health and life at risk forever.

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The Victims of Sudden Fame

Douglas Wood
Douglas Wood Author Interview

Ladies of the Canyon follows two women who get caught in a complex and twisted relationship that turns violent. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

As a child, the film, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? terrified me. No monsters or anything supernatural for that matter, just two women whose relationship is toxic. I wondered how such a story might play out in 2020 as opposed to the early sixties of the film. We’re now so familiar with child stars gone bad via reality shows, TMZ, etc. but I wanted to explore the details behind the lurid headlines and hear the story from one of the victims of sudden fame.

Devon and Nikki’s characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?

I aspired to keep things real regarding the characters’ motivations and to delve into their pasts to help explain their current behavior.

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

The need for acceptance, surviving trauma, past and present, the effect of sudden fame and how a lack of self esteem drives our actions.

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

Not currently working on another book.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Sometimes it’s deadly at the top…

Devon O’Keefe, star of the popular streaming TV series Beverly Hills Banshee, is losing her grip on life and her sudden fame. When substance abuse and erratic behavior cause production of her show to come to a halt—and after burning through all of her money on drugs and legal fees—the young Midwestern transplant finds herself alone and homeless in L.A.

Enter Nikki Barnes, notorious aging child star and Hollywood survivor with her own tabloid exploits, who waylays Devon after a twelve-step program meeting. Nikki sees a younger version of herself in Devon, having battled addiction, eating disorders, and the effects of personal tragedy for decades. She offers to share her decaying Laurel Canyon mansion with the troubled young actress, determined to help her avoid making the same mistakes she’s made. But soon a series of mysterious and disturbing incidents occur and the two women find themselves locked in a complex and twisted relationship that spirals downward into violence.

Ladies of the Canyon explores the universal need for family and acceptance, and how a toxic environment can affect the choices we make.

Resurrection: A Supernatural Downfall

Resurrection: A Supernatural Downfall by [Rob Lockett]

Resurrection by Rob Lockett is a twisted tale that I could not put down! We step into the disturbed mind of Adam and listen to his menacing thoughts. Although, these thoughts may not be from Adam but from an ancient demon. Adam refers to this demon inside his head as The Dark Passenger. One day Adam is severely beaten by a gang of angry pub-goers and ends up in a coma. While in his coma, Adam allows The Dark Passenger to take over his body, and chaos ensues. The Dark Passenger has big plans for the world ahead of him.

Rob Lockett’s book Resurrection was one of the most captivating novels I have read this month! Lockett is a master of narration and truly brings to life his characters. Being inside Adam’s mind for the first several chapters was disturbing and intriguing! You could truly gain a sense of the type of person Adam was by his inner monologues. The Dark Passenger drove me insane in good and bad ways. His evilness was like nothing I had ever read before! I enjoyed the ancient aspect of this character and how he mimics the symptoms of severe schizophrenia. In a way, this character could represent the deepest and darkest parts of one’s mind. I feel he was also a representation of depression and how it tries to take over. Of course, besides the cults and killing aspects. The creature, without shame, admits that he preys on the weak of mind.

The plot itself was great, but I felt that the execution and pacing could have been improved because I felt that there were a lot of chapters leading up to The Dark Passenger’s eventual takeover; which in my opinion was one of the best parts and I wanted to get there sooner. But overall, I still enjoyed the storytelling, and when Dark Passenger was narrating! I felt that adverbs and adjectives were overused at times but still added a certain nuance to the story. The pop culture references were appreciated; it made me feel like I could relate to Adam’s character. Resurrection is a riveting dark fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of horror and psychological thrillers.

Pages: 519 | ASIN: B08693BMQ4

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Into a World of Darkness

Susan Fuss
Susan Fuss Author Interview

I Am The Sand follows the harrowing story of a young woman held in captivity and her daring escape. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

The inspiration for the story came about after reading so much about the entitlement and the ‘humiliated rage’ of men in our patriarchal societies, sometimes resulting in familicide, and the abuse of children in the Catholic Church as exposed through the commissions of Inquiry around the world recently. I imagined Chloe being held by a man who had experienced dreadful abuse in his own childhood and this ran parallel with the abuse and trauma he was visiting upon Chloe at the same time. It’s an interesting juxtaposition.

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

Chloe’s character grew organically from the time that I envisaged a 16-year-old girl held captive in the cellar of the ‘monster’. And her background is so normal in contrast to that of her abductor. She goes to school, she sees her friends, she has a boyfriend and a very stable family background yet she is suddenly and violently plucked out of that and thrust into a world of darkness. She now begins to show her resilience and her strength of character which is quite amazing. She develops an ingenious plot to escape from a man she knows is unhinged and is about to kill her.

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

The very strong themes around which this book is written are the effects of PTSD, childhood trauma and abuse. We are starting to have very meaningful conversations in society about these widespread and long-lasting effects which have been described as the number one health threat in Western society, because not only are the effects psychological, but they are also physical.

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

The next book is a sequel to this because of the type of ending I AM THE SAND has – I want to follow a couple of the characters through into another narrative. I am not sure when it will be ready – but I hope before too long!

Author Links: Website | Facebook

Sixteen-year-old Chloe has just one job to do …
She must escape from her unhinged captor.
She is certain of two things. The first is that she has reached her use-by-date. His ‘virgin’ has become a liability. The Monster will make good his threat. He will kill her. Soon. And secondly, her plan is exceedingly dangerous.
Can Chloe find courage enough to tame the unspeakable terror in which she is drowning, in order to flee The Monster and his brutality?
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