Your novels always have in depth characters and twisting plots. What is your writing process like before and during the process?
Thanks for mentioning that. I work hard to make my characters interesting. I think the most important detail is to create characters that are flawed. Start off with their flaws and build up to the traits that make them likeable and then move slowly, for some, to things that are redeeming.
My characters are meant to seem like everyday people. I do not like to paint them as black or white, I like to use the hundreds of shades of grey in-between. That, in my opinion, makes them more believable and fascinating.
Have you ever thought about exploring different mediums to tell your stories; ex. comics, games, etc.?
This year, I translated one of my novels into comic book script format and submitted it to IDW Comics. I then sent AND even hand-delivered those scripts and copies of my novels to them. I am waiting to hear back. I should be meeting with a representative of the company in the new year.
I am very much a fan of comic and anime. I would love to write for them. While it would be amazing to do so with my own properties, I would also like a shot at writing something like G.I. Joe or something else from the 80’s.
The way I write is imagining my story as a movie. So, my goal would be to have one of my novels or series to become a movie or TV series. With Netflix and Amazon picking up so many books these days, I need to get my works into their hands. If you are reading this Netflix, give me a call. 😊
Writers often find inspiration everywhere and in everything they do. Do you find yourself often looking at the world through the lens of a writer?
Well… I will point out weak writing in a TV show or movie I am watching, but for the most part I separate my two worlds now.
That being said, I do look at the world and see things as a visual artist. Which might be why people often compliment my writing as being so vivid. I spent so many years in art school struggling to force what I saw in my head onto paper in pencil, charcoal, paint, etc…. Over time, I realized I could take those imagines in my head and translate them to words. It was the only way I was able to truly creatively express myself. And it turned out to be much easier.
Since I am both an artist and an author, I do wish to experience life, but my inspiration comes from surrounding myself with the things I love and bring me happiness. Sometimes it just takes watching a good episode of one of my favorite shows to get me fired up.
What novel are you working on right now and when will it be available?
Good question. I finished the Water Kingdom Series and its final book is just being prepped for release. It should be out in late January 2019. It is called THREE BURNING RED RUNAWAY BRIDES.
Then, I will start editing book three in the four book SOUL BORN Series. It is written but needs work. It was originally 180,0000 words long, so I had to break it into two books.
Lastly, I will get back to working on the follow-up to THE LIFEBLOOD OF ILL-FATED WOMEN. Hopefully have that released in early 2020.
All Opal wanted was to be respected as a wielder of magic, but her teachers passed her over time and time again. When a mysterious warlord embarks on a conquest to destroy the lands of Illyia, Opal seizes the opportunity to step out from the shadows of her instructors and take her rightful place among them. Tala, an alluring young elf, was banished from her tribe, hunted and nearly killed by the beasts of the deep forests, but more than anything else she is a survivor. Joining forces with an ancient elemental power, Tala finds herself in the center of an unrelenting human war. Flesh like leather and bone as strong as steel, Karn, a veteran from the first kingdom to fall, is fueled by vengeance. While pushing headlong into battle Karn begins recalling memories of another life: ghosts that haunt his dreams. Through death of soul, their new world is born.
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Paper Heart is a collection of poetry about love, loss and life. When you first started writing poetry did you know you would one day publish a collection?
When I first started writing it at ten years old, it wasn’t something I really thought about. Essentially I was already doing that by writing a poem on a legal pad, tearing off the page, and then handing it to my mother to read. So it didn’t really cross my mind at that time. It wasn’t until I later started reading it more, in books from the library, that I thought to myself “I want to do this. I want my words in a book like this.” Because I loved reading and I loved reading poetry and anything lyrical that spoke to my soul. It was a lot like music to me and music is something I have an undying love for.
I felt that the poems all explored very emotional topics. What were some ideas you often explored in your poetry?
A little bit of everything, but all of them stem from personal experiences. So depending on the emotions the experience evoked, the tone and feeling would reflect what I felt at the time or what I was thinking. A lot of my personal experiences are things that were hard to overcome or hurtful. Which is why those poems are dominant in the collection and not the brighter happier ones, because that’s not what this collection is about. It’s about each little piece of my heart being put on paper whether good or bad, no matter which outweighs the other. It may not be something every reader can relate to, because these are my thoughts and my emotions. Some may interpret these poems differently than others and for some it won’t evoke much, but that is because this is about me and what I went through. That being the case, it’s very subjective. If someone reading it didn’t have the same experiences they won’t understand it or be able to relate to it. I basically wrote it as a form of therapy for myself. If others can relate and really enjoy it great, but if others don’t that’s okay too.
My favorite poem is ‘Be Every Color of the Sun’. Do you have a favorite poem from the collection?
I actually don’t have a favorite because I like them all for different reasons. One that stands out though, that I had a very emotional experience writing is Scream Aim Fire. That poem pulled from a very dark place and stems from a broken relationship with a family member that I truly care for, but we have grown apart because of arguments and constant misunderstandings of each other. I honestly wasn’t sure putting it in the book was a good idea at the time, but it may speak to someone else going through the same thing with someone in their family. Finishing it and actually getting the words down helped me release a lot of pent up resentment towards that person and it was how I was able to move on and let that dark cloud inside me drift away.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I am currently working on my second poetry collection titled Lotus & Fury which will be released hopefully in February of 2019. I also have a few other projects that I am outlining for fictional stories that will be released later next year.
It is crinkled, torn and frayed,
but it’s still a heart all the same…
Paper Heart is a collection of poetry stemming from the places where light and darkness have shaped who Jennifer LeBlanc is as a writer. Written over years of introspection, love, pain, and hope, each poem is a placeholder for something that held her mind for either a bright moment or a dark hour.
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Five Fathoms Beneath follows Ambrose as he must deal with the emotional and untimely death of his father. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
Without giving away too much personal information, I have experience with both cancer and bipolar disorder. That said, an author who chooses to write about mental illness is taking on a great responsibility–how we depict illnesses in fiction impact how people view those illnesses in reality. That led me to do research, and early in that process, I came across an article about the high incidence rate of suicide in the medical profession. There’s relatively little written on the topic, which isn’t surprising when you consider a mental illness diagnosis can adversely impact a doctor’s career. As someone outside the profession, however, I could write freely about the topic, without anyone assuming I was writing about myself or a colleague. And so I came up with the idea of writing a story about a family of medical doctors who deal across the generations with suicide and mental illness, especially depression.
This book deals with mental illness is a passionate and understanding way. Why was this an important topic for you to explore?
At the beginning of, “The Fault in Our Stars,” in his Author’s Note, John Green writes that it’s a fundamental assumption of our species that made-up stories matter. I think Green is absolutely correct because fiction informs how we view the world, and consequently, as writers, we not only have the power to entertain, but we also have the power to explore deeper themes and potentially change the world in a positive way.
We’re almost two decades into the supposedly “progressive” and “woke” twenty-first century, and mental illness is still being used as a pejorative or as a way to fear monger. And that’s even by people who frankly should know better. The stigma attached to mental illness dissuades people from seeking help. Not seeking help costs lives. And that’s something which impacts us all — whether it’s on the personal level when someone in our family is suffering, or on the societal level when we lose our best and brightest. We all should care about mental health because mental health is something which impacts us all.
My hope is Five Fathoms Beneath causes people to pause, rethink what mental illness looks like, and gets them talking about mental illness and suicide prevention.
Ambrose is a unique character that I liked watching change over time. What were some ideas you wanted to capture while creating his character?
I didn’t intend for Ambrose to speak for everyone with depression because depression exists on a spectrum and besides, everyone’s experience is unique and different. That said, with Ambrose’s character, the reader gets some insight into how a depressed person thinks. For example, when he snaps at his patients, it’s not because he’s an inherently bad person, it’s because he’s overwhelmed, exhausted, and struggling with his mental health. Ambrose also accurately depicts why it is difficult for members of certain professions to get help, and the serious impact and far-reaching effects an illness like depression can have on a person’s marriage, family, and life.
Beyond that, much of the novel deals with Ambrose trying to figure out where he fits in the universe and in the grand scheme of life. Ambrose wants to do good and be a hero, and he struggles with who he is and who he wants to be. In the end, he finds his way of being a hero in a way which plays to his own strengths and in a way which is his uniquely his own.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently in the process of brainstorming a sort of prequel to Five Fathoms Beneath, based around Ambrose’s father.
If Ambrose Serafeim’s life is not quite perfect, then it’s very good–he lives in picturesque Western Australia, he has a lovely fiancée, and he is well on his way to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a physician. Brose owes no small part of his station in life to his famous father, Alec, a gentle and idealistic pediatric heart surgeon who lives by a simple moral code–do good and be good. Brose believes in his father and that code the way he believes in absolutes like oxygen or gravity. But when Alec shatters Brose’s perfect world by acting in a way Brose can neither forgive nor understand, Brose is left foundering amidst an existential crisis and clinical depression, unsure not only who he is, but who his father was.
That is until a catastrophic injury in a running race changes everything.
The road from that catastrophic injury leads Brose to the same heart-stopping precipice on which Alec once stood. Facing the possible end of his marriage and having seemingly lost his career, will Brose repeat his father’s terrible mistake, or will Brose blaze a new path forward, one where he finally realizes his potential to help others?
A twist on Loren Eiseley’s famous essay, “The Star Thrower,” Five Fathoms Beneath blends a realistic medical backdrop with a dash of magical realism to tell the heartbreaking yet ultimately life-affirming tale of a man’s quest to find his life’s meaning.
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There’s a lot to miss about growing older: strength, hair, elasticity. But a collection of poems by a bright young author will make you miss something a little less noticeable – the way the young look at the world. Voyages by Debjeet Mukherjee, an 18 year old writer, is a collection of poetry arranged in the most unusual manner. He arranges the poems by age, nothing new, but in a Benjamin Button like twist, the ages go backwards.
The collection starts with an inviting preface that encourages all, not just the elite or cultured, to experience the poetry of life. This transitions nicely into the poems themselves. Here, we find another added touch: small quotations at the end of each poem designed to carry “a message of what the preceding lines were all about.” Mukherjee takes this approach not because he deems his poems too complex for the average reader, but as a way to help readers learn to dilute the figurative language of poetry in general. And these poems are soaking in figurative language. Worn out topics such as love, friendship, and spirituality feel fresh when enlivened with Mukherjee’s metaphors, couplets, and symbols.
The one flaw in the collection is more due to editing than writing. It only takes a few sentences of the preface to notice some minor typos and some formatting issues move the margins from one page to the next.
But these small mistakes should not discourage potential readers. A highlight of the collection is “Prayers Alive in Hope.” The poem opens with a suppressed sense of rage as a “Syrian boy” prays “to the Lord to keep families safe, Not in this world, perhaps somewhere else!” Lines like these transport the reader. They allow us to see the world from a different perspective; from a background other than our own. The voyage that Mukherjee take readers on ends in a place of hope- that special kind that perhaps only the young can truly see.
Pages: 91 | ASIN: B07H4JJ47D
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A dark otherworld exists alongside ours, because the true meaning of our convictions lie in the rhythm of time. What we believe is time, may find its answer in our greatest fears.
I am ancient evil. A malignant, vile creature older than humanity. Legion is my name and my power originates deep inside the primitive core of your fears. I exist because you live between the spaces of Light and Darkness. You are here, steeped in half light and shadows, but at the same time, somewhere else living in denial . . . Hoodie Black
Crystal creek isn’t like any other house. Victor Garland, built it for his mad son Harrison.
It all started long before 1835 when Harrison disappeared and no one could find him. However, eight days later, he returned home, a little starved, a little dirty and a little mad. . . and he didn’t come alone.
It’s 2015 when Alex Hunter, a private detective, still grieving the loss of his wife and only daughter, buys the long abandoned Crystal creek. And it isn’t long before he meets the former owner, Victors` great grandson, Arthur Garland. Arthur leads Alex into an incredible story about the house, a family curse, a murderous ancestor, and a past that won’t let go.
While murders are piling up, and Alex’s former convictions about the house are crumbling. Two immortals come to his aid. One is an Assassin, the other an Angel. When the Assassin offers Alex a deal, and if he succeeds, he will have the chance to turn back time and save his wife and daughter from the accident. He accepts the challenge. However, as we all know. Everything comes at a price.
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A Boy Becomes A Man: You Can Do It! by Jullian Lorenzana is truly an inspiring piece. I felt that I could connect with the main character Julio as he wandered down the road with his sheep in search of a life when he was lost. I felt as though I was there, following in his frightened footsteps as Julio climbed up the tree in fear for his life. Fearing the coyote as well as fearing for the sheep. I love the imagery that Jullian Lorenzana depicts in this book, it’s subtle but detailed enough for your imagination to run wild.
This is a very emotional book. For example, ,the book examines the fear of how Mr. Leon would feel of him losing the sheep, or the way he felt when his father passed away. These are relate-able experiences that I could personally relate to because my mother also passed away when I was young. I believe this book teaches you to be brave, to stand up for yourself, how to care about others and to realize your not alone in this crazy world. Sometimes you have to worry about other peoples safety before you can worry about yourself.
Julio’s father used to sing to him and his other siblings. When Julio is afraid he remembers his father’s songs and sings them to comfort himself. I thought this was a very touching theme and is a good example of how self reliant Julio is or, at least, eventually becomes. Julio wants to herd sheep, but before he can do that he must conquer his fears. He goes round and round herding sheep and pigs, losing them, finding them, only to lose one again. The coyote is the catalyst that makes Julio take stock of himself and realize that he must conquer his fear if he is to be a sheep herder.
This is a very emotional book with a strong message told in a simple way about a young boy. There are no grand plot twists or climaxes and in this simplistic beauty lies the story of a boy that must not let fear control his destiny. The author did a great job of capturing this idea, even without the pictures.
Pages: 52 | ISBN: 1948801361
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Each and every one of us has issues we would like to solve. But these days it feels like anyone trying to improve our lives is also trying to pick our pockets. The sales pitch usually promises to equip us with the power to get exactly what we want out of the world. But after the excitement wears off, we’re usually just out 15 bucks. Evon Small takes readers down a different path. Living in a Changing World is less about avoiding life’s disasters and more about preparing for when they come.
Evon Small takes a refreshing approach to the spiritual/self-improvement genre: pairing poetry with photography and wrapping them around life’s themes. Internet poetry has become increasingly popular (even making it to the shelves of major retailers), but Small’s verses rise far above the average social media poem. While we don’t see a lot of creative comparisons or word choices, music still spills out of each poem. For instance, one of my favorite poems: “We Need You” contains such memorable commands as, “rain or shine, make us be ashamed to stay the same.” Lines like this show Small’s precise use of repetition and focused approach to sound. The result is that sentences that would otherwise sound preachy transform into hymns, chants, mantras, and spirituals.
Sadly, the same level of praise cannot be heaped on the book’s photographs- which constitute the weakest part of an otherwise good collection. Comprised of stock photos, most pictures fail to compliment the poems around them and come off as an afterthought. Nonetheless, the central message is worth reading. The book talks to readers living in a changing world, but focuses on the constants: highs, lows, love, and God. All this comes together to sing a touching, melodious message.
Pages: 80 | ASIN: B0794XCVH1
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No Reflection: Are You Who You Thought You Were? By Christopher Johnson is an introspective religious and spiritual book. It contains many quotes from the Bible as well as quotes from famous people and some other religious figures with thoughts connecting it. Each chapter in the book covers a topic, such as love and forgiveness and then they all follow the same formula of having different quotes and speculation on these quotes. Johnson mentions in the book that his work is the result of conversations with different people in his life and his thoughts on these quotes.
Johnson’s work is interesting. He has quotes followed up with statements that are thoughts on these subject matters. The thoughts connecting these quotes are not always religious, some of them are statements referring to life, but the bulk of them are religious. In addition to quotes, there are topics for each chapter, and some contain metaphors. The metaphors, connecting quotes and thoughts are well done and seamlessly flow into one another. I quite enjoyed the vampire metaphor a lot. It fits into what the author was doing with that chapter perfectly, and I never thought of why vampires cannot go into the sunlight before, but his explanation of it made sense and fit so well with the text. Another analogy I greatly enjoyed was the tortoise and the hare. Johnson relates this to life and states that some are fast to separate but slow to come together, and I found that I agreed with that to a point.
I think for some, this book could be controversial, more specifically the parts addressing homosexuality. I personally do not agree with the sentiments made. I think when making claims similar to these, it would have been nice to have other sources other than Bible quotes and quotes from people that back up thoughts to make it more balanced. Without the balance, it comes off more as a strictly religious text. I do not think Johnson is intending to be biased, but I would have enjoyed other sources with similar statements.
Some of it seems contradictory at times too. For instance saying that God does not have a part in everything because He gave us free will and does not pull all the strings in everything, but then stated God supplies our money. But from the text, it would seem if we choose to work to make money, then we are supplying money through choice. Definitely a mind bender! The book is definitely thought-provoking at times, such as the chapter on forgiveness. That was an interesting read.
Overall, I liked the book. I would recommend this book to those who are open to religious talks, as the book felt like a church sermon in each chapter, or those who are of Christian faith. I am open to seeing others’ perceptions and thoughts who are different from my own, so it was an engaging read and food for thought.
Pages: 144 | ASIN: B07964NR4B
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With a collection of singular point of view narratives the author, Mayne Leitzer, offers his first complete book of poetry; 103 Simple Poems From One Simple Person. The book is sectioned into chapters outlining the types of poems that follow, what those writings mean to the author, and how they came to be. The title is indicative of the style of writing, not the writer, as the poetry is fairly simple; using straight forward thoughts and uncomplicated prose to reflect on life’s complications. The story arc is more of a summation of personal perspective and reflection than a journey forward or illustration of action.
In penning “103 Simple Poems” Mayne Leitzer offers up self reflection, self deprecation, a heavy dollop of fundamentalist religious dogma, and more than a little bit of sadness and remorse, with a glimmer of joy and hope.
Many of his poems are jargon one could find on a motivational poster or greeting card, but that is not at all bad. Life can get messy and sometimes people need soft, plushy words to find comfort and solace. The reader will find many situations that they can relate to; lost love, death, pursuing success, loneliness, finding your destiny, conflict of conviction, etc.
However, there are many poems that can be divisive. Sex before marriage, gun control, abortion, prayer in school, Heaven and Hell, those types of things. The thoughts Leitzer lays out are organic in nature and not derived of a need to be quoted for inspirational prose or to start a deep conversation, but rather, just as he states; a need to express his soul at different stages in life.
Some poems showcase the more complex layers of his humanity that struggle to shine under the dominance of a narrow vision. The Promised Land poem is thoughtful and embraceable. Not a Bad Day and One Moonlit Night lets out his optimistic side which he admits is not in his nature. Leitzer is honest about his mistakes and his struggle with alcoholism. His love poems are truly good; especially Seasons, A Smile and Rock A-bye.
There are a few grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors, which are distracting as is his zealous religious fervor, but his writings let the reader feel his authenticity and the last few poems wrap up nicely to summarize his goal and wishes for success.
This book uses simple and fluid style to expand peoples emotional depths but seemed content to keep its voice generalized. The individual writings have value no matter your religious leanings. At the end the reader will come away with some reflections of their own and maybe, quote a few lines for their own stages of life.
Pages: 124 | ISBN: 1425979149
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Adventures of the Cabin Kids follows a group of children, known as the Cabin Kids, through various adventures they experience during their time at 88 Mountain View Cir. They are the fun childish adventures kids often have when left to roam the woods. They meet wildlife, explore the woods, and have to deal with a trio of bullies called the Field Boys that try to chase them off their mountain. By coming together as a team the Cabin Kids are able to beat the Field Boys at their own game. All the while they have to make sure they are back home for supper.
Any grade school child would enjoy this book. From beginning to end it’s filled with the kinds of ‘adventures’ experienced when exploring the woods. They are minor things, like helping a deer and following train tracks to see where they lead, but the book presents these in such a way that each holds it’s own unique interest to the Cabin Kids.
The Cabin Kids are supportive, helpful, and kind to one another. These are exactly the kinds of family and friends you want with you as a kid. The kids are cute, in their mannerisms, and in how they utterly support one another. The illustrations certainly help sell this point. Each illustration in the book looks as if it was drawn by the kids themselves and fits the story perfectly. I wish that there were more illustrations that showcased more of the memorable moments in the story.
The ideas presented are simple and easy to understand for any child. While the motives are sometimes vague, the emotions and actions of the children are something that sets this story apart from many other stories of this genre. Honest and kind to the core. When the Field Boys show up, you can tell they are definitely trouble and the challenges that ensue are sure to cause reflection of playground games in any child.
Adventures of the Cabin Kids showcases the complete support and friendship kids can have toward one another. Foregoing any challenges or drama within the group and instead focusing on the intrigue and wonder of the forest and what could be waiting just down the next trail.
Pages: 24 | ASIN: B07965DQJ9
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