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Unseen

Unseen: Evil Lurks Among Us by [Jeffrey James Higgins]

Unseen, Evil Lurks Among Us, is a gripping thriller written by Jeffery James Higgins. The novel has a strong line up of characters, an interesting plot and enough action to keep the reader glued to the book.

There are two main characters in this story, Malachi and Austin; the traditional hero and villain. Rookie Homicide Detective Malachi is a former economics academic, turned detective after the death of his father in the Boston Marathon bombing. Austin is a man hell-bent on revenge after he lost his girlfriend at the hands of an Islamist infiltrator. An ex-solider, he plots his revenge whilst keeping up his appearance as an innocent bachelor who lives with his beloved dog Sophie. These are complex characters, as both show that they have both good characteristics and traits, as well as more disturbing aspects to their personalities. At times both fight their own inner demons. These two characters are well developed and are supported by a range of minor characters including a girlfriend, children, an ex-wife and friends and colleagues. Although they aren’t as well developed, all the minor characters are an integral part of the story.

Unseen, Evil Lurks Among Us is set in present day Washington. Higgins draws the readers into the story by describing the setting in detail. Opening the story with a scene in a bar, the action moves quickly to the outdoors, where even the oppressive humidity is described. Numerous sounds, sights and smells are described throughout the novel, as the story unfolds across various parts of Washington.

This is a fast-paced thriller that follows the typical structure, but the story is told from two points of view (Malachi and Austin’s). It starts with an action packed first chapter, with numerous clues and red herrings. Jam packed full of adventure; it keeps the readers guessing right until the end!

Unseen, Evil Lurks Among Us is a fast paced and enthralling novel. The characters are well developed and interesting, and the storyline, while complex, is still easy to follow. But most importantly for this genre, the plot just keeps you guessing with many twists and turns along the way.

Pages: 377 | ASIN: B09BLN26MG

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From Memory And Imagination

Palmer Smith
Palmer Smith Author Interview

The Butterfly Bruises is a collection of thought-provoking poetry on nature, technology, culture and childhood. What was the inspiration for the ideas behind the poem in this book?

I wrote this book because I felt the need to tell these stories. The inspiration behind the ideas really comes from memory and imagination and the intertwining of these two facets of the mind. I wanted to write poems that readers could relate to that would also make them ask questions about their own lives.

My favorite poem from the collection is ‘Can Time Ever Fall?. Do you have a favorite poem from this book?

My favorite poem is definitely “The Dollhouse on Fifth Avenue.” I think it encapsulates the absurdities of apartment living and city living.

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

The main themes that were important to explore were: love, communication, nature, and technology.

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

I am working on a fiction novel about a character who sleepwalks and a complicated family. The book is set in NYC/the south.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

The Butterfly Bruises is a collection of poems and stories regarding animals, the ocean, miscommunication, childhood, Northeastern versus Southern American culture, family, nature versus technology, and the imagination of the introvert. In these lyrical texts, a couple sleepwalks together, a therapist is imagined as a snake, a manatee befriends a widow, a ghost haunts an old Charleston home, and New York City becomes its own character. Stepping into these pages brings about new worlds-some full of magic, others full of mystery.

The Masters Of Sci-Fi

Author Interview
Svet Rouskov Author Interview

Antithesis is a collection of fascinating science fiction stories offering a variety of intriguing scenarios that explore humanity through different lenses. What inspired some of the stories in your collection?

I am a science fiction nerd who grew up reading and idolizing the masters of sci-fi; Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Frank Herbert just to name a few. I also loved science fiction periodicals and read many lesser-known voices who contributed their stories. Inspiration in general came from wanting to remind myself why I love sci-fi, telling stories with a nod to the past. But I also wanted to make the subjects and themes of the stories relevant and timely. In effect, social commentary masquerading as nostalgia.

I really enjoyed the diverse and interesting characters in the stories. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

My day job is being a screenwriter. Character in film, television and video games is what excites me the most about storytelling. If people love your characters (even the evil ones), they will go along for the ride and enjoy the experience. Now, diverse characters lead to differing points of view and unique perspectives, which will hopefully challenge the viewer or reader to examine their own beliefs. If a character has you questioning a preconception, then he/she/they/it has been well developed.

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

Though Antithesis has six unique stories, they all revolve around humanity and the human condition. I wanted to explore what it means to be human. Our strengths, our weaknesses, our flaws, and our beliefs. Even when looking at non-human characters, I wanted to use them as a mirror to our own world to show areas where we as a species were either excelling or failing.

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

I am working on volume two of Antithesis. It will include the continuation of three of the stories and a few new ones as well. Hopefully, it will be out mid-2022. I’m also working on an adaptation/novelization of one of my own original screenplays that was never produced. Antithesis is my first book, and I enjoyed writing it so much that I’m being drawn more and more to literature. Stay tuned!

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Antithesis is a collection of vivid and exhilarating science fiction stories, tied together by characters whose moral challenges offer windows into humanity and the human condition. These stories are cautionary tales, flights of fancy, terrifying psychological journeys, humorous romps, and even a space opera.

A speculative tale about humankind becoming obsolete from the perspective of the machines we created. The story of an airline pilot who loses his faith in the physics of flying as his rational and irrational mind fight for dominance. An ancient being born of human evolution that strips us of our memories, feeding on one precious reminiscence at a time. An audacious fable that explores a new galaxy, one where humans are irrelevant, but the conflicts of a class-based society are not. A novella-length saga about a mission to Mars, the origins of humanity, and an atrocity that stretches across time and space. And finally, a story that asks the question whether an unstoppable artificial intelligence would indeed be happier traveling the vast reaches of space, or back amongst the flawed beings who created it.

Escape into worlds unlike anything you have seen before, but some eerily similar to our own. Antithesis – where the opposite is to be expected.

To Reveal Its Shocking Nature

Author Interview
Colin McNairn Author Interview

Signs of the Times reexamines classic nursery rhymes through a contemporary and humorous lens. What inspired you to write this book?

My mother was an English teacher and a great fan of humorous poetry. She introduced me to the light verse of Ogden Nash and the nonsense rhymes of Edward Lear, kindling my enthusiasm for their writing styles. I have also been fascinated by wordplay, of one kind or another, and have written about it in earlier books. The light verse style offers considerable wordplay possibilities. It struck me that classic nursery rhymes would lend themselves to reinterpretation in this style and that they could do with some updating as it were.

What is the most memorable nursery rhyme from your childhood and how does that speak to you today?

One of the most memorable, if not the most memorable, nursery rhyme from my childhood is “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” It speaks to me today because I now appreciate that a lamb represents innocence and purity and that the pure whiteness of the typical lamb’s coat reinforces the notion of purity. I now believe that this nursery rhyme emphasizes the faithfulness that a pet, endowed with the characteristics of innocence and purity, is capable of showing to a human companion. In the nursery rhymes, that faithfulness is reciprocated by Mary, to her enduring credit.

What nursery rhyme shocked you the most when reexamining it?

For me, the nursery rhyme “Goosey, Goosey, Gander” didn’t take much reexamination to reveal its shocking nature. It portrays someone throwing an old, presumably defenseless, old man down a set of stairs for the simple crime of refusing to say his prayers. For me, the shocking nature of the narrative wasn’t particularly dampened when I learned that what was being described here was likely the fate of a priest, hidden away in a “priest-hole” in a Catholic home, being rousted and punished for refusing to swear allegiance to the Protestant Queen. This would have been a not untypical occurrence in England during the Papist purge of the sixteenth century.

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

My next book will be another collection of light verse for adults. It’s to be titled What If Jack Wasn’t So Nimble: Mother Goose Characters Reimagined. I’m currently looking for a publisher. One of the poems from this collection, entitled “Time’s No Fun When You’re Having Flies” has been published in the latest quarterly issue (Sept., 2021) of the British Webzine Lighten Up Online (see https://lightenup-online.co.uk/index.php/isse-55-september-2021/2174-colin-mcnairn-time-s-no-fun-when-you-re-having-flies).

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Signs of the Times is good clean—or not so clean—fun in two ways. It’s a joy to be reintroduced to so many dearly loved and justly renowned nursery rhymes, long after their sparkle and pungency may have faded from adult memory. It’s also fun to see what an informed and somewhat sardonic modern sensibility makes of them anew in the context of these times we are all now living through.

—Bruce Bennett, Emeritus Professor of English, Wells College

Colin McNairn is clearly having fun as he rewrites nursery rhymes to comment on the wider world. With jabs and plentiful jokes (“hickory, dickory, daiquiri”), he happily draws readers into his imaginative wordsmithery.

—Warren Clements, Author, The Nestlings Press Book of Fairy Tales in Verse

If Mother Goose were writing her nursery rhymes to-day, she would no doubt
burnish her MeToo credentials by condemning Georgie Porgie for kissing the girls and making them cry,
have Billy Boy, a.k.a. Charming Billy, look for a wife online rather than by pursuing a ground game;
warn us against catching a tiger by the toe, given the dangers of nail fungus; and
recognize a twinkle, twinkle in the night sky as more likely to evidence a drone rather than a star.
These are among the revisionist scenarios portrayed in the 70 plus mature verses in this collection, all of which have been inspired, to some extent, by traditional nursery rhymes. The subject matter of the verses ranges widely and includes, politics, language, the law, dating and mating, social behavior, food and drink, health, sports, commerce, technology, travel, and the natural environment.

Vanir, Warrior

Vanir, Warrior.: Book Two of The Stormerki Prophecy (VANIR series 2) by [Saul Falconer]

Vanir, Warrior by Saul Falconer is an adventurous book for lovers of Norse Mythology. This book brings characters like Freya, Heimdall, and Baldur to life as they interact with the three main characters of the book: Zeke and his siblings, Martha and Elijah. Each has unique abilities that give them special strengths against their enemies. The story takes a little while to get going, but the writing is excellent and after the first few chapters I was fully invested in this riveting story.

In the beginning, we get to see each of the children in action as they all undertake a sort of exam; Martha and Elijah taking on level four, while Zeke takes on level six. This introduction to their powers and capabilities in battle helps to set the stage for the rest of the book as they struggle to fight off the Myrkvar and the Illska, and other enemies who have the ability to travel the wormholes and attack Zeke’s people.

This book cleverly merges aspects of fantasy with science fiction, weaving different types of advanced technology throughout the worlds of Norse Myths, including everything from simulations to hoverpods to holographic devices and more. The focus of the story is on a return to “the old world” to investigate an illness that is making the people of Longyearbyen sick and of the possibility of Vanir prisoners being held captive there. One of the best aspects of the book is the relationship between Zeke, Martha, and Elijah, and how their bond helps them overcome any obstacles they face. Falconer’s writing is strongest in his characterizations and the interactions between the large cast. While I enjoyed the characters, I felt that there are a lot of them, along with races, cultures, and locations to keep track of.

Vanir, Warrior is perfectly written for pre-teen and young adult readers who have an interest in Norse Mythology. This is a spellbinding epic fantasy with imaginative technology and a sense of adventure that permeates the novel.

Pages: 394 | ASIN: B07MY3KKRX

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My Aunt the Vampire

My Aunt the Vampire (One mad Rooster short stories) by [Paul Bird, Cassandra Allen]

My Aunt The Vampire, by Paul Bird, is the sequel to One Mad Rooster and is a lively collection of short stories that follow the hilarious and heartwarming events of one boy’s life. Within this humors collection for young teens, you’ll find him convinced his aunt is a vampire, battling haunted fireworks, and trying to outwit his English teacher.

Paul Bird does a great job of getting inside a teenager’s mind. It allowed me to connect with the protagonist because he felt authentic. It is that awkward age between childhood and adulthood where you can believe one thing, even when logic is rearing its head and telling you that your belief is wrong.

At the beginning of each chapter there is a picture that is associated with tit. They are cute pictures without being too childish and really brings life to these stories. Author Paul Bird also starts each chapter with a paragraph or two in the middle of the action and then goes back in time a little to help explain what’s going on. This can be a little disorientating at first but he does handle it well and everything within the story connects with that particular story.

While this is a collection of stories, all of the stories do have the unifying thread of having the same protagonist. It is a little difficult to keep track of when the events happen in the protagonist’s life, as I was not sure when these things were happening. But otherwise these were entertaining stories that felt grounded but still imaginative.

My Aunt The Vampire by Paul Bird is a well written collection of fun stories that will appeal to anyone looking for a lighthearted read with organically humorous situations.

Pages: 155 | ASIN: B07MY2B8PX

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The Mistaken Monster

The Mistaken Monster (One mad Rooster short stories) by [Paul Bird and Sarah Bird, Sarah Bird, Cassandra Allen]

The Mistaken Monster follows a trio of children on a holiday in the country. As children often do they get bored and wander off and onto a property that is off limits. While on the property they discover a scary monster using torture devices. The children run off, but things are not what they seem and the truth is surprising yet charming and leaves readers with a warm feeling at the end of the story.

This is a delightful mystery short story that young readers will surely enjoy. The story is told in simple words and relatable language that enables young readers to follow along, but also inspires the imagination. When the kids first encounter the ‘monster’ I loved how the story shows how kids perceive the world as opposed to what reality is. This story does a wonderful job of capturing what it is like to be a kid and how the world is different and more adventurous when you are younger.

The Mistaken Monster is a fun short story that takes readers on an entertaining and imaginative adventure with a sweet ending.

Pages: 57 | ASIN: B081V427W4

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Echoes Through The Lives

Claudia Ermey
Claudia Ermey Author Interview

The Confessional follows a young woman in search of her birth mother but uncovers life changing secrets instead. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I grew up hoping someday I’d discover there had been a horrible mistake and my REAL mother was just out of reach waiting for me to find her. As it turns out, a sister and two brothers were the ones waiting for me to find them. Which I did, eventually. I am familiar with that yearning for family and hoped to convey that feeling in echoes through the lives of all three women in my novel.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Mirta, although small in stature, “grew large” when she needed to fight for her children. There was nothing she wouldn’t do, endure, and hope for the sake of her family.

~ Julia, an enigmatic character, chose freedom over family. Was she selfish or did she really do what she thought was best for her child? A lonely woman in her later years or enjoying the life of a jetsetter? Did she wish she had chosen differently? I left all that up to the reader to decide.

~ Francesca, romanticizing her birth mother at Mirta’s expense, was left to grapple with the face of love and what really makes a family.

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

The way women interact with one another at various stages in their lives and in times of despair was a driving theme for me. A woman’s strength and her ability to accomplish whatever she is called to do. All three women are independent, strong women adapting to challenges. Also a theme: Forbidden love when the deck is stacked unequally, as it often is. Then, of course, there is the overarching theme of those who’ve stolen power and through unthinkable terror impose their paradigm upon the innocent. Pure evil. I just had to write about it.

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

The working title is Losing Wait. It’s a novel about a fatherless, teenage boy with no male role model, struggling to become a man and take care of his mother, aunt and little cousin, Penny. I’ve enjoyed navigating through the mind and emotions of earnest, young Jed. It’s comical, and quite a departure for me, but ultimately deals with the theme of growing into oneself, and finding your star in the family constellation.

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads | Twitter

Mirta and Roberto DeSalvo, refugees from the Dirty War of Argentina (1976-83), owe their lives to wealthy American, Julia Parks. Soon after the DeSalvos are settled in the employ of Julia in Northern California, Julia discovers her brief affair with a young priest on the lonely Oregon coast has led to an unexpected late-in-life pregnancy.
Free-spirited Julia has no intention of adding a man or a baby to her full and glamorous life. When she asks the DeSalvos to adopt her newborn, Francesca, they have no honorable choice but to accept, even though it means they will not return to Argentina to search for their missing granddaughter, Cristina.
Although raised in a loving home, Francesca can’t help but yearn for her birth mother whom she fantasizes to have been a young impoverished girl forced to give up her baby. When she sets out to find her, secrets begin to surface and lives will never be the same.
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